The Airbus C295 tactical airlifter has successfully achieved its first wet contacts during an air-to-air (AAR) tanker flight test campaign with Spanish Air Force 35th Air Wing C295 tactical airlifter acting as receiver at. First dry contacts of this flight test took place in December 2019 and were achieved using a closed ramp configuration, 100ft hose and remote vision system. Took place in January 2020, the wet contacts conducted out of Seville, Spain at flight speeds between 100-130 knots. The Airbus C295 tactical airlifter fitted with the removable AAR kit, performed five wet contacts transferring a total 1.5 tons of fuel.
Several test flights have been carried out at different speeds, testing the new equipment and its different configurations at the different air speeds at which the operation takes place. Tests were conducted in day-light conditions. The flight test campaign also included night flight operations and the successful proximity test in pre-contact position with a Spanish Air Force F18 fighter at a flight speed of 210 knots. The successful tests will expand the C295’s trademark versatility for tactical operations to include refuelling missions for helicopters, transport and fighter aircraft.
After these flights, very useful conclusions have been drawn so that the Airbus Defense engineering team can continue developing the system. It should be noted that it was the first time that contacts were made with real fuel transfer from one plane to another using the new equipment. The degree of difficulty of these test flights is always high, since it involves performing maneuvers that nobody has flown before. The behavior of the aircraft, the operation has been quite good and simple, always within the limits of difficulty inherent in a test flight.
The EADS CASA C-295 is a twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft, and is currently manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space in Spain. The C-295 is manufactured and assembled in the Airbus Military facilities in the San Pablo Airport, in Seville, Spain. It is a development of the Spanish–Indonesian transport aircraft CASA/IPTN CN-235, but with a stretched fuselage, 50% more payload capability and new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines. The C-295 made its maiden flight in 1998. The first order came from the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) and operates 13 C-295 (designated internally as T.21).