Aerial Warfare

RAAF KC-30A MRTT Conducts Air-to-air Refuelling with RSAF Tanker


RAAF KC-30A MRTT Conducts Air-to-air Refuelling with RSAF Tanker

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In a first for the No. 33 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a KC-30A tanker was refuelled in the air by a foreign air force when the Republic of Singapore Air Force No. 112 Squadron took part in what was dubbed Boom Camp in the Northern Territory. No. 33 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) strategic transport and air-to-air refuelling squadron. It operates Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transports from RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. The tanker crews of Singapore and Australia have previously trained at Exercise Pitch Black and Bersama Five Power Defence Arrangements exercises. Air-to-air refuelling provides increased range to the aircraft to carry out airpower operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

RSAF No 112 Squadron Deputy Commanding Office lieutenant colonel Cheng Li Seng said: “As a small country with limited airspace available for training, we are especially grateful to the RAAF and to the Australian Government for their consistent and strong support in allowing the RSAF to continue to deploy to Darwin amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”

RAAF No 33 Squadron pilot flight lieutenant Nicolas Barnes said:”That the training adhered to different objectives, including receiver flying, away-base operations, heavy boom tanker consolidation, rendezvous procedures, and formation probe-and-drogue fighter refuelling. The event also provided an important opportunity for the RAAF and RSAF to share knowledge and operational experiences as operators of the same aircraft type.”

Designated as KC-30A, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 MRTTs are equipped with both an Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and two Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods. The aircraft are powered by two General Electric CF6-80E1A3 engines. Australia initially arranged to procure four aircraft with an option to obtain a fifth; this option for a fifth aircraft was exercised to allow for two simultaneous deployments of two aircraft, the fifth being for contingency coverage. Australian KC-30A are operated by No. 33 Squadron RAAF based at RAAF Base Amberley. Australia’s aircraft are configured for 270 passengers plus 34,000 kilograms of cargo.

RAAF KC-30A MRTT Conducts Air-to-air Refuelling with RSAF Tanker
A RAAF KC-30A tanker refuelling from a Republic of Singapore Air Force tanker during training in the Northern Territory. Credit: © Commonwealth of Australia 2020.

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