Airbus Achieves Automatic Air-to-Air Refuelling Contact
 
Force Magazine - National Security and Aerospace Newsmagazine
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Airbus Achieves Automatic Air-to-Air Refuelling Contact

Automatic AAR contacts with boom performed for first time ever
 
Airbus Achieves Automatic Air-to-Air Refuelling Contact

Airbus Defence and Space has successfully demonstrated automatic air-to-air refuelling (AAR) contacts with a fighter aircraft from a tanker’s refuelling boom – the first time in the world that this has been done.

Airbus’ A310 MRTT company development aircraft performed six automatic contacts with a F-16 of the Portuguese Air Force. The system requires no additional equipment on the receiver and is intended to reduce boom operator workload, improve safety, and optimise the rate of AAR in operational conditions to maximise combat efficiency. It could be introduced on the current production A330 MRTT as soon as 2019.

David Piatti, Airbus Test ARO, or “boomer”, on the tanker, said: “The most important thing was that the system could track the receptacle. It was very satisfying because it worked perfectly and we could perform the contacts with the automation switched on as planned. It will certainly reduce workload, especially in degraded weather conditions.”

Miguel Gasco, Head of Airbus Defence and Space’s Incubator Laboratory which coordinated the development, said: “This represents a fundamental advance in boom AAR operations, with the promise of increasing the rate of contacts, notably reducing operator workload, and enhancing safety. The automated boom operation is an important pillar of our Smart MRTT development that is already underway.”

 
 


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