The Advantages of More Operational Space: The Australian Tanker


During the U.S. tanker competition, a consistent “missing” analytical element was an understanding that the A33o MRTT was just that a multi-capable tanker.

Rather than having to carry fuel or carry other things, the tanker can do both.  Because the tanker carried its fuel load in its wings, the basic deck could be used for passengers or cargo or whatever.

Eventually, someone will figure out that because the tanker can be built in a re-fueable mode, and if a crew rest area is installed, the deck could be used to “rent” space for communications equipment, or electronics equipment.  In other words, it could perform a TANKING role and an ELECTRONIC or COMMUNICATIONS support role.

Sort of a P-8 that could tank.

The RAAF version (Aussies) just flew the most passengers ever.

According to an Airbus Military Press release:

An Airbus Military A330 MRTT multi role tanker transport of the Royal Australian Air Force, designated the KC-30A, has flown the highest number of passengers ever carried by the service in a single flight. The aircraft of 33 Sqn, RAAF carried 220 passengers from the Australian Defence Force Academy as well as its 14 crew, on a two-hour flight from Defence Establishment Fairbairn last month.

The sortie was part of the squadron’s introduction into service of the KC-30A which is capable of carrying 270 passengers in the configuration selected by the RAAF.

Photo copyright Commonwealth of Australia