The Department of Defence has confirmed that the RAAF’s KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) project has not been placed on the government’s ‘projects of concern’ list despite reports to the contrary and the project running nearly two years late.
In response to questions from Australian Aviation following rumours the project was in trouble and a report in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that suggested it had been moved to the concern list, a Defence spokesperson confirmed the government had “not declared this project as a project of concern”, and that the first two aircraft were still scheduled for delivery to the RAAF by the end of this year.
The first KC-30A was to have been delivered in late 2008, but this was delayed to early 2009 following design changes including the relocation of the boom operator’s console to the flightdeck, requested by the Commonwealth. Delays in modifying the first two aircraft saw the planned delivery slip again to early 2010, and further delays in developmental flight testing has seen this further delayed to later this year. The aircraft to be delivered to the RAAF this year will be aircraft numbers 2 and 3, the first two aircraft modified by Qantas Defence Services (QDS) at Brisbane.
“The test program has now entered formal certification and qualification of the military systems following extensive developmental testing last year. Airbus Military is planning to complete testing in third quarter 2010,” the spokesperson said.
“After contractual acceptance of the first aircraft, approximately eight weeks of work is required, primarily by Defence, to complete the Australian Military Airworthiness processes necessary to issue a Special Flight Permit to commence RAAF operations,” the spokesperson told AA. “Defence expects to achieve delivery of the first two aircraft by end 2010 in order to commence RAAF operations in early 2011.”
Aircraft number 1 (pictured), the first A330 that was modified by Airbus in Spain, will have most of its flight test instrumentation removed and a service performed following the completion of flight test before it is delivered in mid 2011. The final two aircraft will be delivered in mid to late 2011 and early 2012.