EADS tanker, F-16 in refueling mishap

WASHINGTON, Dec 8, 2010 (AFP) – – An Australian air force A330 aerial refueling tanker built by Europe’s EADS and a Portuguese F-16 fighter had an inflight training mishap that damaged the two aircraft but caused no injuries, EADS said Thursday.

« We had an in-flight training incident involving an A330 tanker yesterday, » EADS North America spokesman James Darcy said in an emailed statement.

« The incident occurred during refueling operations involving a Portuguese F-16 and an A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) tanker…. It would be premature at this point to speculate on any actions that may have resulted in this incident, » Darcy said.

The MRTT aerial refueling tanker is built by European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co, parent of France-based commercial aircraft maker Airbus.

An earlier statement from the Australian Ministry of Defence said the incident « resulted in the detachment and partial loss of the refuelling boom from the MRTT, which fell into the sea. »

« Both aircraft suffered some damage but returned safely to their home airfields, » the statement said.

The aircraft was being operated by Airbus Military Corporation and no Australian personnel were on board the MRTT at the time of the incident, the ministry added.

Neither statement said where the incident occurred.

The Australian air force is buying five MRTT aircraft, designated the KC-30A, and development and testing of the aircraft is taking place at Airbus facilities in Spain.

EADS is in a tense duel with Boeing over a $35 billion contract to sell new tankers, in EADS’s case the A330 MRTT, to the US military to replace an aging fleet of 179 Boeing-built aerial refueling tankers.
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Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/8687307/eads-tanker-f-16-in-refueling-mishap/

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