KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

The KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport is a heavily modified Airbus A330 airliner, and enables Air Force to conduct air-to-air refuelling and provide strategic air lift.

It features advanced communication and navigation systems, and an electronic warfare self-protection system for shielding against threats from surface-to-air missiles.

The Air Force's six KC-30A aircraft are based at RAAF Base Amberley, operated by No. 33 Squadron.

In 2015, Government announced the purchase of a sixth and seventh KC-30A aircraft, and under the 2016 Defence White Paper, an eighth and ninth aircraft are under consideration.

Since September 2014, a single KC-30A has been deployed to the Middle East Region for Operation OKRA.

About the Aircraft

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; and a pair of all-electric refuelling pods under each wing.

These systems are controlled by an Air Refuelling Operator in the cockpit, who can view refuelling on 2D and 3D screens.

The KC-30A can carry a fuel load of more than 100 tonnes, and transfer part of that load to compatible aircraft, including:

  • F/A-18A/B Hornets;
  • F/A-18F Super Hornets;
  • E/A-18G Growlers;
  • E-7A Wedgetails;
  • C-17A Globemaster III; and
  • Other KC-30As.

It is also compatible with refuelling P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, F-35A Lightning II, and foreign aircraft such as the F-16C Fighting Falcon and B-1B Lancer.

The KC-30A MRTT can remain 1800 km 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. It comes with under-floor cargo compartments which can accommodate 34,000 kilograms of military and civilian cargo pallets and containers.

Specifications

Manufacturer Airbus Military
Role Air-to-air refuelling, long-range troop transport
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, one air refuelling officer, one mission coordinator, up to eight crew attendants
Engine Two General Electric CF6-80E1A3
Airframe Height 17.4m, Length: 59m
Wingspan 60.3m
Weight 233 tonnes (maximum take-off weight), 180 tonnes (maximum landing weight)
Cruise Speed 860 km/h
Range 14,800 kms
Ceiling 41,000 feet
Capacity Up to 270 passengers, or 34,000 kgs of cargo or 111 tonnes of fuel, Electronic self-protection measures