Two ex-Qantas A330-200s to be converted to KC-30 tanker transports for RAAF

VH-EBH Airbus A330-203 (MSN 892) of Qantas, named 'Hunter Valley' at Perth Airport – Fri 5 September 2014. QF775 from Melbourne, landing on runway 03 at 8:12am. Photo © David Eyre
VH-EBH Airbus A330-203 (MSN 892) of Qantas, named ‘Hunter Valley’ at Perth Airport – Fri 5 September 2014.
QF775 from Melbourne, landing on runway 03 at 8:12am.
Photo © David Eyre
A39-005 Airbus KC-30A (A330-203MRTT) (MSN 1183) of 33 Squadron, RAAF, based at Amberley, QLD, at Perth Airport - 12 May 2015.
A39-005 Airbus KC-30A (A330-203MRTT) (MSN 1183) of 33 Squadron, RAAF, based at Amberley, QLD, at Perth Airport – 12 May 2015.
Lining up ready for a runway 03 departure at 11:02 am.
Photo © Keith Anderson.

Copyright © David Eyre –  1 July 2015

The RAAF is purchasing two ex-Qantas Airbus A330-200 aircraft, VH-EBH (MSN 892) and VH-EBI (MSN 898), from lessor CIT Aerospace by the end of 2015, for conversion to KC-30A multi-role tanker transports (MRTT) at a total cost of $408 million. Airbus says an MRTT conversion takes 10-12 months.

VH-EBH was withdrawn from Qantas service and will be returned to CIT on 21 July 2015, whilst VH-EBI will be withdrawn in September and returned to CIT on 20 November 2015. VH-EBH was delivered to Qantas in January 2008, and VH-EBI the following month.

The conversion will take 10-12 months per aircraft and will be performed by Airbus Defence and Space at Getafe, Spain, for delivery to the RAAF in 2018.

This is the first time an in-service A330-200 has been converted to an MRTT, and it involves installation of underwing hose and drogue refuelling pods, a refuelling boom and cameras under the rear fuselage, as well as other military equipment. The RAAF’s five other KC-30As were all acquired new  and were purchased with similar specification and engines to Qantas A330s, for ease of maintenance.

The departure of VH-EBH and EBI leaves Qantas with 25 A330s: 15 A330-200s and 10 A330-300s.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

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