The KC-30 (dubbed MRTT 002), the first of four to be converted to tanker standard from green A330 airframes at Brisbane by Qantas Defence Services, undertook four test flights totalling 20 flight hours before departing for Spain for further testing. One flight included several low passes over the KC-30’s future home base of RAAF Amberley, while a simulated long haul flight took the aircraft out to Alice Springs and Uluru and return. Ground testing prior to the first flight included a rejected takeoff, with the MRTT accelerating to 100kt before the application of full braking to bring the aircraft to a stop.
Successful completion of the first local KC-30 conversion, according to Valentin Merino Villeneuve, MRTT RAAF program manager, was “an outstanding achievement and a major milestone in the Australian MRTT program. The task has meant a 15 month hard slog for both Airbus Military and Qantas Defence Services to gear up for and achieve such an enormous technological achievement, utilising a culturally diverse mix of Australian and Spanish professionals 17,000km from home base. Its success strengthens our confidence in our ability to successfully complete conversion of the remaining three tankers.”
MRTT 002 is scheduled to arrive in Madrid on October 30, where it will undergo further modifications prior to joining KC-30 MRTT 001 in the certification and qualification flight program.