La France toujours intéressée par les ravitailleurs d’Airbus

Le 09 janvier 2012 par Barbara Leblanc

Devant un panel de journalistes de la presse aéronautique, le ministre de la Défense, Gérard Longuet, assure que la France pourrait commander des ravitailleurs dès 2013.

La France doit renouveler sa flotte vieillissante de ravitailleurs, composée de C135FR fabriqués par Boeing et d’Airbus A340 et A310, également utilisés pour le ravitaillement en vol. Et le gouvernement entend choisir le groupe européen Airbus et ses ravitailleurs des MRTT (Multirole tanker transport). C’est ce que le ministre de la Défense assure tablant sur une livraison des appareils en 2017.

Cette déclaration met un terme à plusieurs rumeurs laissant planer le doute sur l’attribution de ce contrat. L’Airbus A330 est en effet en concurrence avec Boeing sur ce marché des MRTT. Aux Etats-Unis, l’A330 a fini par perdre un énorme marché de ravitailleurs pour le Pentagone, remporté par Boeing après plusieurs retournements de situation.

L’A330 MRTT, qui peut ravitailler en vol deux avions simultanément, est capable d’emporter à la fois plus de cent tonnes de carburant, 37 tonnes de matériel et jusqu’à 270 passagers. Pour l’heure, les pays ayant commandé cet appareil sont l’Australie, la Grande-Bretagne, l’Arabie saoudite et les Emirats Arabes Unis. Il a aussi été présenté à l’Inde.

Source: L’usine nouvelle

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Iberia converts passenger aircraft into mid-air refuelling tanker

  • Iberia’s Maintenance and Engineering unit completed the job in a record 16 months.
  • Systems added to enable A330 to refuel other aircraft in flight and to take on fuel in the air.
  • Total of 5,500 system components were modified, with structural changes made to 2,000.
  • Iberia Maintenance has a strategic military aircraft business line.
  • This conversion is part of an agreement between Iberia Maintenance and Airbus Military.

Madrid, 16 of March of 2011Iberia has converted an Airbus A330-200 passenger airliner into a Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), equipped for mid-air refuelling. It was the first time such a complex task has been performed in Spain, where Iberia maintenance and engineering teams completed it in a record 16 months.

After yesterday’s final flight test, the aircraft, belonging to the Saudi Arabian air force, was delivered by Iberia to Airbus Military.

The aircraft was flown in November, 2009 from the Airbus plant in Toulouse, France to Iberia’s Madrid maintenance installations, where it was equipped to carry fuel, and deliver it in mid-air to other aircraft, and also to receive fuel from other tankers in flight. Hose and funnel mid-air refuelling systems were installed on both wings and on the fuselage along with a fly-by-wire control device. First the aircraft was disassembled to allow structural modifications to be made, followed by functional tests both on the ground and in the air. The transformation of the A330 into an MRTT was completed with the configuration of the interior.

Iberia’s engineers and technicians spent 140,000 man-hours on the conversion of the A330, during which they modified 5,500 system components, making structural changes to 2,000 parts. An additional 58.5 km. of wiring was installed, including 1,000 metres each of coaxial cable and fibre optic cable.

The collaboration agreement between Iberia Maintenance and Airbus Military to convert civilian aircraft into MRTTs reflects the Spanish company’s strategy of reorienting its maintenance business towards technologically challenging and high value-added activities. Iberia’s EVP Maintenance and Engineering, José Luis Ruiz de Castañeda, said: « it is a great satisfaction for us to have successfully completed a project which is certainly the biggest challenge we have ever faced in the transformation of aircraft ».

Iberia has more than 20 years of experience in the maintenance of military aircraft. In addition to the inspection and repair of the Pegasus engines used in Harrier VTOL fighters, it maintains Boeing 707s and P3-Orion sea rescue craft for the Spanish armed forces. It has also serviced the aircraft used by the heads of state of such countries as Argentina and Turkmenistan.

Iberia Maintenance is responsible for maintaining the Iberia fleet and those of another 100 clients around the world. In 2010 it carried out a total of 122 C and D checks of aircraft, and inspected and repaired 200 engines and 53,587 aircraft components. It is the world’s ninth-largest aircraft maintenance company. Last October it commissioned a new maintenance hangar at the Barcelona Airport.

Source: Iberia

First Airbus Military A330 MRTT for Royal Saudi Air Force makes maiden flight

Madrid,  16 March 2011

The first Airbus Military A330 MRTT for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) has successfully completed its maiden flight lasting 4hr 15min.

The crew reported that the aircraft, its systems and two General Electric CF6 engines performed entirely satisfactorily.

Following the 15th March flight the aircraft now enters the final certification and qualification phase for this version of the A330 MRTT leading to contractual delivery later this year. The second RSAF aircraft is already in conversion at the company’s Getafe site (close to Madrid, Spain) and the third will begin the process in mid-year. Prior to this flight, five A330 MRTTs had already flown. Those include three for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and two for the UK Royal Air Force. Two of the aircraft are already technically complete and ready for delivery to the RAAF in Getafe, pending finalisation of contractual discussion.

The picture shows the first A330 MRTT for the RSAF landing at Getafe.

About the A330 MRTT

Having received supplemental type certificate from European civil certification Authority EASA in March 2010 and military certification from Spanish Authority INTA in October, the Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.

Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC). To-date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers (Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.

Airbus Military Certifies Boom System to DO-178B level A Using GNATcheck for Coding Standard Verification

10:27 GMT, March 2, 2011 NEW YORK & PARIS & NUREMBURG, Germany | AdaCore, provider of tools and expertise for the mission-critical, safety-critical, and security-critical software communities, today announced that Airbus Military has successfully certified the Airbus Military Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) on the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). The certification was simplified by the use of the qualified GNATcheck tool to verify conformance to the software coding standard required by the ARBS project. Verification of conformance was undertaken as part of the DO-178B level A Software Verification Process.

The A330 MRTT is the new military derivative of the Airbus A330-200 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role, air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft. The ARBS is equipped with an all-electrical, full fly-by-wire flight control system. It is provided with an advanced automatic load alleviation system, and has autonomous disconnect for the receiver and the tanker. For additional assurance, it has been designed under the dual redundant architecture (fail operational, fail safe). For security considerations, secure communication is possible though the boom.

AdaCore has developed an agile infrastructure that supports the development, maintenance and modification of software tools and their associated qualification material so that they may be frozen for current certification projects and cost-effectively modified to apply to new certification efforts. The GNATcheck tool takes advantage of this infrastructure so that both the tool and its associated qualification material may be tailored to the needs of any specific certification context.

« Replacing a costly manual coding verification activity with an automated solution proved a sound choice, » said Ismael Lafoz from Airbus. “Having an automated and qualified coding standard verifier greatly helped us complete the Software Verification Process and proceed to delivery in a well-controlled time frame. »

AdaCore’s GNATcheck is an extensible rule-based tool with an easy-to-use interface. It allows developers to completely define a coding standard (referred to as a “Software Code Standard” in DO-178B) as a set of rules, for example, to define a subset of permitted language features. It verifies a program’s conformance with the defined rules and thereby facilitates demonstration of a system’s compliance with a DO-178B process. Developed by RTCA and EUROCAE, DO-178B defines the guidelines for development of aviation software in both the US and Europe and is being increasingly adopted by other related sectors, such as air traffic control and military applications.

« Creating accurate qualification material for a tool is always more easily done by the company developing and maintaining the tool, than by the company using the tool, » said Cyrille Comar, Managing Director at AdaCore. « We are in an ideal position to optimize the effort necessary to create and maintain qualification material on our tools. This allows our customers to simplify their verification activities by using automated processes that can be trusted in a certification context. »

UAEAF to receive Airbus transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft

Airbus Military will deliver the first of three new military version  of the A330 multirole tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft to the United  Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) by the end of the year.

The aircraft will strengthen the UAEAF to improve homeland defences  and increase its role in regional security and humanitarian relief.

The A330 MRTT is designed as both a transport and an air-to-air  refuelling aircraft.

The UAE ordered three MRTT aircraft in early 2008, and will receive  the first of the lot by the end of this year.

Other countries that have ordered the new type of transporter include  Australia, UK and Saudi Arabia, according to the National.

Airbus to Increase A330 Production Rate to Ten a Month

Airbus has decided to raise the production rate for its A330 Family to ten aircraft a month from the second quarter of 2013.

Currently Airbus turns out eight A330 Family aircraft each month. This monthly rate will increase to nine in early 2012, before reaching rate ten in the second quarter of 2013.

“We are increasing the production rate for the A330 Family due to the strong market demand for the aircraft,” said Tom Williams, Airbus’ Executive Vice President Programmes. “In the long-range, mid-size category, the A330 is the right aircraft for airlines worldwide”.

The A330 is not only a bestseller as a passenger airliner but also as a Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, as a VIP aircraft and also as a freighter.

The A330 MRTT achieved civil and military certification in 2010. Currently five are flying with a further four undergoing conversion. Delivery of the first two aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is in the final stages. It is planned to deliver five A330 MRTTs to three customers in the course of this year.

2010 has also seen five deliveries of the brand new freighter variant to three customers as a first step towards satisfying a market of some 400 new build mid-size freighters over the next 20 years.

The reliable and efficient A330 is one of the most widely used widebody aircraft in service today, with one taking off each minute every day. To date, Airbus has won over 1,100 orders for the different models of the aircraft. Some 750 A330s have already been delivered and the aircraft is currently flying with 90 operators worldwide in 50 countries.

Cobham Enables First Centreline Aerial Refuelling by Future RAF Tanker

GETAFE, Spain — Cobham’s new 805E hose and drogue Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU), has successfully passed fuel from an Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi role Tanker Transport) to receiver aircraft for the first time.

In a three hour, 10 minute sortie from Getafe near Madrid on 21 January, the Future Strategic Transport Aircraft (FSTA) variant for the UK Royal Air Force conducted a series of “wet contacts” with two F-18 fighters of the Spanish Air Force. Both fighter aircraft received fuel at an altitude of around 15,000ft and at speeds from 250 knots to 325 knots.

“Cobham has led this field for more than 50 years, and the digital-electric 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit shares its systems architecture with our wing-mounted 905E pod,” said Cobham Mission Equipment Vice President, Iain Gibson.

“This has allowed us to reach an advanced state of maturity quickly, as shown by the successful fuel transfer test on last month.”

The Cobham FRU 805E will be fitted in the rear fuselage of five of the 14 FSTA aircraft, and is capable of transferring fuel at a rate of 600 US gallons per minute (compared to the wing-pod’s 420 US gallons per minute), allowing faster refuelling of large aircraft such as the Airbus A400M military transport.

Cobham also supplies two wing-mounted 905E pods for each FSTA aircraft, which completed similar testing and certification in 2010.

Cobham’s products and services have been at the heart of sophisticated military and civil systems for more than 70 years, keeping people safe, improving communications, and enhancing the capability of land, sea, air and space platforms. The Company has four divisions employing more than 11,000 people on five continents, with customers and partners in over 100 countries and annual revenue of more than £1.9bn / US$3 billion

Avions-ravitailleurs US : Boeing remporte la belle

Le Pentagon a choisi l’offre de Boeing pour remplacer les 400 ravitailleurs KC-135 de l’US Air Force. L’européen EADS voit le contrat de 35 milliards de dollars lui échapper.

Le plus grand marché mondial de l’armement reste fermé aux européens. Malgré une offre compétitive et surtout, après avoir été choisi une première fois en 2008, EADS a perdu. Le grand vainqueur est Boeing qui doit fournir maintenant à l’US Air Force, 179 avions-ravitailleurs KC-46A pour un montant de 35 milliards de dollars.

Si à Seattle, la nouvelle a été saluée par un concert de klaxon à l’heure de la sortie des usines Boeing, à Mobile, dans l’Alabama, c’était la consternation. C’est dans cette ville du golfe du Mexique, qu’EADS et son partenaire américain North-Grumman avaient, en effet, choisi d’assembler les futurs ravitailleurs dérivés de l’A330. L’argument n’a pas suffit pour remporter la mise. Boeing a su jouer avec succès la fibre patriotique en mettant en avant les 50.000 emplois directs et indirects générés dans 40 états des USA. Officiellement, tout s’est joué pour 1% d’écart sur la facture finale.

EADS a dix jours pour contester la décision du Pentagon. Ce dossier n’est plus à un rebondissement près, même si pour l’US Air Force, il est devenu urgent de remplacer ses vieux ravitailleurs dont les plus récents exemplaires ont été livrés en 1965. Cela fait dix ans que l’appel d’offre a été lancé. A deux reprises par le passé, le choix a déjà été remis en question par le perdant. Boeing avait remporté une première fois le contrat, puis EADS en 2008. Une manche de chaque côté et la victoire finale pour le concurrent américain.

Si l’affaire en reste là, Boeing va devoir livrer les 18 premiers KC-46A d’ici 2017. Le premier vol du futur ravitailleur de l’US Air Force n’est pas prévu avant 2015.

Gil Roy

Source: Aérobuzz.fr

Airbus Military Demonstrates Final A330 MRTT Refuelling System

The Airbus Military A330 MRTT has successfully passed fuel to receiver aircraft using the Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) for the first time – meaning that all of the aircraft´s refuelling systems have now been demonstrated.

In a three hour 10 min sortie from Getafe near Madrid on 21st January, the Future Strategic Transport Aircraft (FSTA) variant for the UK Royal Air Force conducted a series of “wet contacts” with two F-18 fighters of the Spanish Air Force.

Contacts were successfully performed with both fighters at an altitude of around 15,000ft and at speeds from 250kt to 325kt.

The FRU is a hose and drogue similar to those fitted under the wings, but with a higher rate of fuel transfer, and which is also developed and supplied by Cobham of the UK.

The full complement of refuelling systems which can equip the A330 MRTT, and which have now all been demonstrated, consists of: the FRU, the underwing hose-and-drogue, and the Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), plus the Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) used to receive fuel from another tanker.

Head of Airbus Military Derivatives Antonio Caramazana said: “This demonstration of the last of the A330 MRTT´s refuelling systems clearly positions it as the most capable, flexible and proven transport/tanker available to the world´s air forces today. We now look forward to conducting the first contacts with Royal Air Force fighters in the coming months.”

Having received its supplemental type certificate from European civil certification Authority EASA in March 2010 and military certification from Spanish Authority INTA in October, the Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.

Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).

To date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers (Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.

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.
ved/pmh/vs

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/8687307/eads-tanker-f-16-in-refueling-mishap/