Qantas Defence Services

QDS - committed to excellence in Defence support

MRTT Program - Australian Conversion Centre HG1, Brisbane

The Commonwealth of Australia signed a contract with Airbus Military (formerly EADS CASA) for the acquisition of five A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, (Military designation KC-30A) and associated support services to provide the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with an Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) capability for the next 20 years.

Airbus Military awarded the contract to convert four of the RAAF's five A330s to tankers to Qantas Defence Services in 2005. While the prototype MRTT aircraft was developed and completed by Airbus Military in Madrid, Spain, the remaining four A330-200 aircraft will be converted in Australia.

As of early November 2010, two of the QDS converted KC30A aircraft are flying and are awaiting entry into service.

The RAAF A330 MRTT is the first to use the fly-by-wire Air Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), designed by Airbus Military, to provide highly accurate and reliable in-flight refuelling for a full range of aircraft – from fighters to airlifters. 

The ARBS system features high-resolution, panoramic 3D vision technology to enable remotely-controlled refuelling in all weather conditions, day or night, at a maximum fuel flow rate of approximately 4542 litres per minute. The A330 MRTTs are also fitted with the new generation Cobham 905 underwing pods, capable of refuelling probe-equipped aircraft up to a fuel flow rate of approximately 1589 litres per minute.

Qantas Defence Services selected Brisbane's Hangar 1 as the preferred location for the Australian Conversion Centre where the large scale conversions are taking place.

Major changes to the standard A330 are:

  • 2 under-wing pods in the A340 wing outer engine position
  • Rear fuselage centreline Aircraft Re-fuelling Boom System (ARBS)
  • External lights (visual and infra red compatible)
  • Receiver video camera surveillance system
  • Military avionics, navigation and communications systems
  • DIRCM (Directed Infra-red Counter Measures)
  • RARO (Remote Air Re-fuelling Operator) dual operator Console
  • Cargo Bay modifications for military pallets
  • Airstairs - allowing the aircraft to operate from remote areas
  • Installation of 54km of additional electrical harnesses
  • In-flight refuelling receptacle with a fuel pipe going to the centre wing tank (UARRSI - Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation)


Multi Role Tanker Transport

Multi Role Tanker Transport

Multi Role Tanker Transport

MRTT Program - Through Life Support - Amberley, Brisbane

In 2010, Qantas Defence Services and Airbus Military (formerly EADS CASA) signed the Through Life Support (TLS) Subcontract for Project AIR5402 Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) Weapon System.

The TLS Subcontract has been established to allow Airbus Military to support Qantas Defence Services in the performance of its obligations as prime contractor to the Commonwealth of Australia for the TLS of the AAR Weapon System.

Under the TLS Subcontract Airbus Military will provide Engineering, Logistics, Technical Data, Supply and Training Support Services to Qantas Defence Services in support of the TLS Contract with the Commonwealth of Australia.

The term of the contract is 20 years from the Operative Date, being Acceptance of the first AAR Aircraft by the Commonwealth of Australia, currently scheduled for the last quarter of 2010. Approximately 50 Qantas Defence Services personnel will be employed at the RAAF Base Amberley to support the TLS.

Multi Role Tanker Transport