Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) will sell India an improved variant of the A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, the contract for which has been “fully negotiated and pre-signed”, an Airbus executive was quoted as saying by Janes Defence review.
Named as the ‘The A330 MRTT Enhanced’, the aircraft features improvements to the aerodynamics, structure, and mission computer.
Work on the prototype aircraft will begin in October 2015, with the first flight scheduled for the end of July 2016. Starting from 2017, all future A330 MRTT customers will be offered this enhanced version, with retrofits being made available to current operators.
The first customer of the A330 Enhanced will be Singapore, according to Antonio Caramazana, VP Head of Military Derivative Programmes, who was quoted as saying by Janes Defence Review on June 10.
Regarding the Indian contract, Caramazana was quoted as saying that “the contract had been held up due to the elections. There is a sense of positiveness”, he said referring to getting the contract concluded early which had already been “fully negotiated and pre-signed”.
Improvements in the A330 Enhanced include upgrades to the mission system, mission planning system, the Aerial Refuelling Boom and the Boom Visual System. Provisions for Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Mode 5 transponder and the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) tracking system will be among the other upgrades.