Airbus Military, via the Royal Australian Air Force, has released an interesting image of a trio of A330 Multirole Tanker Transports (MRTT) taken on Feb 21 somewhere over Spain – presumably near Getafe. Nearest the camera is the second KC-30A for the United Arab Emirates, with RAAF KC-30A A39-001 in the middle of the formation and the UK Royal Air Force’s first future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) in the distance.
The RAAF was launch customer for the A330MRTT but, mainly due to development issues with the boom, has experienced prolonged delivery delays. Originally due to take its fleet of five between 2008 and 2010, the first aircraft was only handed over at RAAF Amberley in June 2011. Now, with the balance of the fleet either in service, conversion or final testing, the RAAF is looking forward to getting its tanker force up to strength. Although I have no specific information about the identity of the RAAF tanker involved in the air refueling incident in Jan 2011 in which the boom broke off, I wonder if the new-looking tail cone on 001 (below) is a bit of a giveaway?