ARLINGTON, VA — (Marketwire) — 03/03/09 — EADS’ ability to build and deliver highlycapable tanker/transport aircraft for NATO air forces and allied countrieswas underscored by a recent delivery of the first wing set for the FutureStrategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) to be operated by the U.K.’s Royal AirForce.
The FSTA is based on the EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT),which has been selected in the last five consecutive internationalcompetitions held in Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, UnitedArab Emirates and the United States, where the A330 MRTT is the baseplatform of the Northrop Grumman KC-45 tanker.
A total of 14 A330 MRTTs will be delivered to AirTanker, the EADS-ledconsortium, for use by the U.K. Royal Air Force in aerial refueling andtransport missions, entering service in 2011. The FSTA will replace theU.K.’s existing fleet of aging tanker/transport aircraft.
“The FSTA wing set delivery is a key milestone underscoring the robustnessof EADS’ A330 MRTT production capability,” said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADSNorth America’s chairman and CEO. “EADS already has delivered three A330MRTT airframes for outfitting and completion for the Royal Australian AirForce, designated two airframes for the U.S. Air Force KC-45 and is nowready to meet the U.K.’s tanker modernization needs. EADS tankers, withNorthrop Grumman in the U.S., have been selected in five consecutiveinternational competitions. This delivery clearly demonstrates that we areready now and successfully moving forward to meet our customers’ militaryrefueling requirements.”
The twin-engine EADS MRTT benefits from sustained production rates for theAirbus A330 commercial jetliner on which it is based. To date, more than1,010 A330s have been ordered by civilian, military and governmentalcustomers worldwide, with approximately 590 delivered. Production outputfor the A330 and its four-engine A340 version continues at a rate of 8.5aircraft per month, ensuring a robust manufacturing capability as well as afully responsive supplier network.
Providing a total air mobility solution, the A330 MRTT offers exceptionalcapacity for in-flight refueling, plus full flexibility in cargo delivery,passenger transport, aeromedical evacuation and other missions.
The Northrop Grumman KC-45, which is based on the A330 MRTT, was selectedby the U.S. Air Force in February of 2008 to meet its tanker modernizationrequirements. Following contract award to Northrop Grumman and subsequentprotest, the U.S. Department of Defense opted to recomplete the tankermodernization program. The KC-45 aircraft platform will be assembled andmission-equipped in Mobile, Ala. — creating a new aerospace manufacturingcenter of excellence for the United States that will support over 48,000high-value jobs nationwide.
At the heart of the Northrop Grumman KC-45’s refueling system is EADS’new-generation ARBS, which provides highly accurate, reliable in-flightrefueling. The all-electric system’s maximum nominal fuel flow rate of1,200 U.S. gallons per minute is 33 percent more than the Air Force’scurrent KC-135 tanker. Modern fly-by-wire technology incorporated in theARBS provides enhanced controllability and includes an automatic gust loadalleviation system that greatly aids the boom operator — as well as thereceiver aircraft’s pilot — during refueling operations.
EADS North America is the North American operations of EADS, the secondlargest aerospace and defense company in the world. As a leader in allsectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parentcompany, EADS, contribute over $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually andsupport more than 190,000 American jobs through its network of suppliersand services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broadarray of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homelandsecurity, aerospace and defense markets.