The KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport, which is a heavily modified Airbus A330 airliner, enables Air Force to conduct both air-to-air refuelling and provide strategic air lift.
The KC-30A is able to transfer more than 100 tonnes of fuel to Air Force’s F/A-18A/B Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, and when fully operational refuel E-7A Wedgetail, C-17A Globemaster III and other KC-30As. It will be compatible with refuelling the P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and F-35A Lightning II when these aircraft enter service.
Based at RAAF Base Amberley and operated by Number 33 Squadron, the five KC-30As feature advanced mission systems, including military communications and navigation, an electronic warfare self-protection system for protection against threats from surface-to-air missiles.
The Government has announced the purchase of two additional aircraft, with a further two under consideration.
The KC-30A MRTT is fitted with two forms of air-to-air refuelling systems - an Aerial Refuelling Boom System mounted on the tail of the aircraft, which comprises a 'fly-by-wire' boom refuel system; and a pair of all-electric refuelling pods underneath each wing, which unreel a hose-and-drogue to refuel probe-equipped aircraft. These systems are controlled by an Air Refuelling Operator in the cockpit, who can view refuelling on 2D and 3D screens.
The KC-30A MRTT has a fuel capacity of more than 100 tonnes, and can remain 1800km from its home base with 50 tonnes of fuel available to offload for up to four hours. In its transport role, the KC-30A is capable of carrying 270 passengers, comes with under-floor cargo compartments and will be able to accommodate 34,000 kgs of military and civilian cargo pallets and containers.
The KC-30A has participated in Exercise Northern Shield, Exercise Arnhem Thunder, Exercise Bersama Lima and Operation OKRA.
Advanced mission systems are also fitted. They include the Link 16 real-time data-link, military communications and navigation suites, and an electronic warfare self-protection system for protection against threats from surface-to-air missiles.