January 18th, 2008 02:14 EST
Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker: Overview
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 and the United Kingdom. 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 recent international competitions, the KC-30 family of advanced tankers has been recognized as the optimal solution for meeting next-generation military tanker requirements. The U.K. government has selected the AirTanker industry group and its A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) as the preferred bidder for its Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft requirement. The Royal Australian Air Force signed a contract in December 2004 to acquire five A330 MRTTs. Deliveries of the Australian aircraft are scheduled to begin in 2008, with the A330 MRTT entering operational service in 2009 following operational test and evaluation by the RAAF.
In America, an open and competitive selection process for the next generation U.S. Air Force tanker will produce the optimal aircraft system at a price point that creates best value for the Department of Defense, the services, coalition forces and the American taxpayer. The KC-30 Tanker has consistently demonstrated its success as a world-class refueling platform in competitive selection processes.
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 more than 50 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.