First Flight of British Airbus Tanker

The first Airbus A330-based tanker built for the Royal Air Force has completed its maiden test flight. This multi-role tanker transport aircraft took off from Airbus’ facility at Getafe, Spain, and returned there approximately two hours later during the Sept. 16 sortie, announced Airbus parent company EADS. The MRTT is the sister aircraft of Airbus’ KC-45, which the US Air Force is considering to fulfill its KC-X tanker requirement. EADS is using this first flight as fodder in its war of words with Boeing over whose tanker design is more mature as they vie to win the KC-X contract. Boeing is offering the 767-based NewGen Tanker. “We now have A330 multi-role tankers in flight for two US allies,” said EADS North America Chairman Ralph Crosby. Already in flight test are two MRTTs manufactured for the Royal Australian Air Force.