The Australian Government signed a contract to convert five Airbus A330 airframes for the RAAF

20 Dec 2004

The RAAF’s first air-to-air refuelling aircraft, the converted Boeing 707s transport aircraft, were scheduled to be retired in 2008 so in 2004 the Australian Government announced its intention to procure the Airbus KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport in its place. The first KC-30A entered service with No 33 Squadron in June 2011.

Australia was the first country to use the KC-30A, with five in service by the end of 2015. Two of these five aircraft are converted ex-Qantas Airbus A330 commercial transport aircraft.

The KC-30A has a ‘fly-by-wire’ boom which is controlled by two systems directly from the aircraft flight deck. The boom can extend to seventeen metres and can refuel other aircraft at 4,600 litres per minute. The KC-30A can also be refuelled in flight from other refueller tanker aircraft.

The KC-30A is not only used for refuelling it is also a transport aircraft. It can transport up to 270 passengers in its main cabin and thirty-four tonnes of cargo. Passengers carried extend from Defence personnel deploying, to the Australian Prime Minister and media attending international forums and summits.

The KC-30A are based at RAAF Base Amberley.

To learn more, download this extract from Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force by David Richardson and Peter Wood.

Related base

  • RAAF Base Amberley

Related aircraft

  • KC-30