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EADS aims at USAF tanker market

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Old September 20th 03, 05:54 PM
Matt Wiser
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Default EADS aims at USAF tanker market

simulator wrote:
EADS Commits More Than $80 Million in Company
Funding to Develop
Systems, Technology for U.S. Tanker Aircraft

(Source: EADS North America; issued Sept. 16,

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- EADS, one of the world’s
largest defense and
aerospace companies, is investing more than
$80 million of company
funding in developing technology and systems
to position it as a strong
competitor for the U.S. Air Force’s future aerial
tanker modernization

The commitment includes $83 million for the
design, manufacture and
testing of an advanced centerline refueling
boom that incorporates
fly-by-wire controls and provides a high-volume
fuel transfer flow. This
boom, to be mounted under the aft fuselage of
an Airbus A330 tanker,
will be used as a primary means for in-flight
refueling of military
aircraft such as fighters, transports and special
mission platforms.

A prototype of the EADS advanced refueling boom
is being developed by
EADS Military Transport Division in Madrid,
Spain, and will be completed
for ground-based evaluations on a test rig next
year, to be followed by
flight testing.

“The A330 Tanker offers a state-of-the-art platform
and refueling system
clearly exceeding the performances of competitors'
alternatives,” said
Rafael Acedo, Vice President Programs EADS Military
Transport Aircraft

The Air Force has a requirement for several
hundred aerial tankers to
assure its in-flight refueling mission for U.S.
forces worldwide, and
EADS is committed to be a viable competitor
in this important program.

“EADS is absolutely committed to success in
the large tanker market,”
said Ralph Crosby, Chairman of EADS North America
– the Washington,
D.C-based holding company for EADS in the U.S.
“We are aggressively
pursuing the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft
(FSTA) for the United
Kingdom. In the United States, we have made
clear to Air Force
authorities that we intend to compete aggressively
for all future tanker
buys – a commitment which has been acknowledged
and supported by the Air
Force. The allocation of significant EADS company
funding to develop the
refueling boom and other technology underscores
our intent to be a
long-term player in this market.”

EADS will propose a military version of the
Airbus A330 airliner for the
U.S. Air Force tanker mission. Airbus, one of
the world’s largest
civilian airliner manufacturers, is an affiliate
company of EADS, which
has broad experience in military aircraft and

The A330 military tanker will be equipped with
three refueling points:
the advanced centerline boom installed under
the fuselage, and a pod
located under each wing with probe-and-drogue-type
fueling systems that
are unreeled in flight.

EADS’ advanced centerline fueling boom will
operate with fly-by-wire
controls and redundant power supply and actuation
systems, ensuring
precise, accurate positioning and fuel transfer,
as well as a high
degree of redundancy. The boom is to be remotely
controlled by an
operator at a flight deck console that features
a 3-dimensional viewing
system. Almost four (4) tons (1200 U.S. gallons)
of fuel will be
transferred per minute via the boom to the aircraft
being refueled in


Here's the only problem: the NIH syndrome is very contagious in the Pentagon.
If there is an American-designed and built system that can be procured, they
will go for the American one first. Only if there is no domestic alternative
will the various services consider foreign suppliers-although there have
been exceptions: the B-57 and the M-93 Fox NBC vehicle being the most prominent.

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