Air to Air Refuelling Capability — AIR 5402
Prime Contractor: EADS CASA (Trading as Airbus Military), (Spain).
2010/2011 spend: $493 million
This project is acquiring five new generation Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft – to be known as KC-30A in RAAF service. The acquisition also establishes the infrastructure necessary to deliver services including engineering, maintenance, spares management, technical data, software and training support for the new fleet.
Programmed expenditure during 2010-2011 is based on payment milestones and earned value in relation to delivery and acceptance of the first three aircraft and associated support system elements, conversion of the fourth A330 (in Australia), and delivery of the fifth commercial A330 to Airbus Military prior to commencement of conversion.
The first (prototype) aircraft commenced formal certification flight testing of the military systems in January 2010. The second aircraft has completed conversion in Australia and returned to Madrid, Spain, to join the first aircraft for certification of the military systems. The third aircraft is undergoing conversion by Qantas at the Australian Aircraft Conversion Centre. A significant certification milestone has been achieved with the granting of a Supplemental Type Certificate for the A330 MRTT by the European Aviation Safety Agency in March 2010.
The project remains within the approved budget. Completion of developmental flight test has reduced technical risk, although there remains a low to medium level of risk associated with certification and qualification testing of the military systems of the first-of-type A330 MRTT. The contract is currently running behind schedule and acceptance and introduction into service of the first aircraft is likely to occur 18 to 24 months later than originally contracted, due to delays associated with conversion and test of the first of type developmental tanker.