The Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) has granted the A330 MRTT Voyager Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) clearance for the A400M using the centreline hose and drogue system, known as the Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU). This AAR clearance is the culmination of several ground and flight-testing campaigns to develop and evaluate the two aircraft and their pairing in many different conditions. The Airbus teams have performed intensive engineering analysis and documentation to demonstrate the AAR compatibility between the two aircraft. The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the only MRTT customer to make use of this system, which is used to refuel large probe-equipped aircraft such as the A400M or C295. Under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme, Airbus has delivered 14 Voyager aircraft to British aircraft leasing company AirTanker.
The Voyager MRTTs are operated by the RAF under a service contract (a private finance initiative), and can also be rolled into a civil configuration.The Voyager fleet is cleared by INTA to refuel Tornado, Eurofighter, C-130J Hercules, E-3D Sentry, F-35B Lightning II and now the A400M. INTA, the technical body of the Spanish Airworthiness Authority (DGAM), is the contractual certification entity of the A330 FSTA and MRTT aircraft. Their certifications are then endorsed by the airworthiness authorities. These tankers are delivered in two military configurations: with two AAR underwing pods – to refuel probe-equipped receivers such as the Eurofighter and the F/A-18 – and with two underwing pods plus the FRU system.
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330.A total of 12 nations have placed firm orders for approximately 60 aircraft, of which 42 had been delivered by 31 January 2020. A version of the A330 MRTT, the EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45, was proposed to the United States Air Force for their aerial tanker replacement program but was not successful. Voyager KC2 is a Royal Air Force designation for an A330 MRTT with two Cobham 905 under-wing pods, primarily used for refuelling fast jets. Meanwhile, Voyager KC3 is a Royal Air Force designation for an A330 MRTT with two under-wing pods and a “Cobham Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU)” for a centreline refuelling capability, primarily used for refuelling large aircraft.
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military (now Airbus Defence and Space) as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The A400M is between the C-130 and the Boeing C-17 in size; it can carry heavier loads than the C-130 and is able to use rough landing strips. Along with the transport role, the A400M can perform aerial refueling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment. In March 2013, the A400M received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification. The first aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013.