U.S. Air Force SELECTS NORTHROP GRUMMAN FOR TANKER REQUIREMENT
29 Feb 08. Northrop Grumman announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to provide the KC-45A aerial refueling tanker for the KC-135 tanker replacement program. The Air Force’s KC-45A is based on the highly-successful A330 commercial airframe, produced by EADS.
Northrop Grumman is leading a world-class industry team to deliver a total air mobility solution for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker requirement. The KC-30 Tanker Aircraft is a derivative of the multi-role tanker that already has been selected for service in the air forces of Australia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In addition to being an exceptional aerial refueling platform, the KC-30 also offers full operational flexibility for cargo, passengers and aeromedical evacuation – providing a cost-effective response for the Department of Defense and American taxpayers.
Equipped with a centerline flying boom – along with two underwing hose and drogue pods, plus a fuselage hose and drogue refueling unit – the KC-30 can refuel multiple aircraft simultaneously, and is interoperable with U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied aircraft on the same mission without downtime for ground reconfiguration.
The KC-30 is derived from the A330 widebody twin-engine passenger jet, which has earned its reputation as the commercial airliner of choice for leading carriers worldwide. Characteristics that make the A330 a bestseller in its category also provide exceptional operational capabilities and superior performance for the KC-30 as a next-generation military tanker. These include: a large existing fuel capacity in the wings; an advanced digital cockpit with fly-by-wire controls for excellent handling qualities and low crew workload; a fuselage cross-section maximized for both passenger and cargo payloads and underfloor holds that are sized to accommodate NATO standard 463L pallets, bulk cargo and side-by-side LD-3 containers.
As a derivative of a modern commercial jetliner early in its operational prime, the KC-30’s advantages also include low life cycle costs, continued manufacturer upgrades and improvements, and a guaranteed supply of spare parts for decades to come.
To ensure the Air Force maintains the aerial refueling capability necessary to support America’s global warfighting needs, all possible options should be considered for modernizing its tanker fleet.
In four consecutive international competitions, the KC-30 family of advanced tankers been selected by NATO and allied nations as the optimal solution for meeting next-generation military tanker requirements.
Australia is acquiring five A330 MRTTs (Multi-Role Tanker Transports), the first of which has begun flight testing prior to its 2008 delivery to the Royal Australian Air Force, followed by a 2009 entry into operational service. The A330 MRTT also has been chosen by Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates, both of which have announced plans to acquire three aircraft each. As with Australia, the A330 MRTTs for these two countries will be equipped with the advanced fly-by-wire Aerial Refueling Boom (ARBS) and digital underwing hose & drogue refueling pods – the same configuration for Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 Tanker proposed to the U.S. Air Force.
The KC-30 industrial team is committed to delivering an American military aircraft program, with tanker assembly and production taking place in Mobile, Alabama, and 58 percent of the aircraft, subsystems and support being provided by hundreds of American partners and suppliers. The KC-30 program will result in the in-sourcing of thousands of U.S aerospace jobs. The KC-30 team will employ 25,000 American workers at 230 U.S. companies. It will be built by a world-class industrial team led by Northrop Grumman, and includes EADS North