First South Korean A330 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft Arrives in Busan

The first Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) aircraft destined for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has arrived in Busan, South Korea for acceptance process.

The aircraft was piloted by Airbus and ROKAF crew, and the ferry flight from Getafe, Spain to Gimhae Air Base in Busan also involved a stopover in Vancouver, Canada.

The aircraft will now undergo a series of ground and flight tests before being formally handed over to the South Korean Air Force. During these tests, the Air Force intends to deploy the new tanker aircraft to replenish its F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets.

The A330 MRTT aircraft was selected by South Korea in June 2015 beating Boeing KC-46 Pegasus and Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Boeing 767 MMTT (Multi Mission Tanker Transport). Seoul’s $1.26 billion KC-X programme aims to deliver four tankers by 2019.

Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330-200 airliner. The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a version of the A330 MRTT proposed for the U.S. Air Force but was rejected in favour of Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker.

The A330 MRTT has a maximum fuel capacity of 111,000 kg (245,000 lb) without the use of additional fuel tanks, which leaves space for the carriage of 45,000 kg (99,000 lb) of additional cargo. The A330 MRTT’s wing has common structure with the four-engine A340-200/-300 with reinforced mounting locations and provision for fuel piping for the A340’s outboard engines.

The A330 MRTT cabin can be modified to carry up to 380 passengers in a single class configuration, allowing a complete range of configurations from maximized troop transport to complex customization suitable for VIP and guest missions. The A330 MRTT can also be configured to perform Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions; up to 130 standard stretchers can be carried.

The main deck cargo configuration allows carriage of standard commercial containers and pallets, military, ISO and NATO pallets (including seats) and containers, and military equipment and other large items which are loaded through a cargo door.

According to Airbus, 12 nations have now ordered the tanker and a total of 60 A330 MRTT aircraft are on order with 33 delivered.

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