A Royal Saudi Air Force A330 MRTT tanker has supported a trans-Atlantic deployment of RSAF F-15s to Las Vegas to Red Flag exercises earlier this year.
The aircraft staged through Moron AFB in Spain and McGuire AFB in New Jersey, and covered 16,000km each way. A release from Airbus Defence and Space congratulating the RSAF on the deployment confirms the MRTTs boom refuelling system is being used operationally by some operators. The A330 MRTT is operated by Australia (KC-30A), the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the UK (Voyager) and is on order by Singapore, although UK’s Voyagers aren’t equipped with a boom.
“It was enormously satisfying to play our role in supporting this complex mission,” Airbus defence & Space’s Head of Customer Services, Philippe Galland said in a statement. “We greatly admire the RSAF’s accomplishment of this major deployment at a relatively early stage in their operation of the A330 MRTT.”
The RAAF has so far refused to accept its boom into service due to flight safety concerns following two separation incidents of booms from RAAF and UAE A330s in recent years, and what it perceives as a lack of maturity in the boom’s software-driven systems.