Airbus and Singapore have agreed to collaborate on the development of the A330 SMART Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

The SMART MRTT programme will develop, certify and implement Automatic Air-to-Air refuelling (A3R) capability as well as enhanced maintenance solutions for the A330 MRTT.

“With this collaboration Singapore becomes a key partner for the new automated aerial refueling capabilities. Under the agreement, a RSAF A330 MRTT will take part in the ongoing development, flight test campaign and final certification programme. The flight test campaign, which has already started, is aiming for certification in 2021.

While development of SMART MRTT capabilities further strengthens Airbus’ leading position and technological edge in the tanker market, the enhanced maintenance solution is designed to improve A330 MRTT’s availability and overall mission success rate.”

Airbus Head of Military Aircraft, Alberto Gutiérrez said in a news release:

“With this agreement, the Singapore Air Force leads the evolution of the A330 MRTT, helping us to bring new hands-off capabilities to the benchmark of next-gen tanker operations.” 

In July 2018 Airbus demonstrated that A3R was feasible as a product after the achievement of the world’s first automated contact with a Boom system. In a joint operation with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the company’s A310 development tanker performed seven automated contacts with a RAAF KC-30A MRTT, also made by Airbus.

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James M

I wonder if not having to train boom operators will be the final push the MoD needs to get these fitted to the voyagers