Airbus A310 MRTT

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Airbus A310 MRT MedEvac.jpg
A310 MRTT of the German Luftwaffe
Role Strategic tanker/transport
Manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space
First flight December 2003[1]
Status Active service
Primary user German Air Force
Number built 6[citation needed]
Developed from Airbus A310
Variants Airbus CC-150 Polaris

The Airbus A310 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A310. Previously, the A310 has been operated as a pure transport aircraft.

Design and development[edit]

Luftwaffe Airbus A310 MRTT ready for refueling, Paris Air Show 2007
A310 MRTT August Euler of the Luftwaffe

The A310 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is a military derivative of the Airbus A310 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role air refueling tanker and cargo transport aircraft.

The aircraft are manufactured and modified by EADS/Airbus. The conversion involves

  • Installation of two AAR pods, one under each wing
  • Four additional fuel tanks (extra 28,000 kg)—giving total capacity of almost 78,000 kg
  • Fuel Operator Station (FOS) to control fuel offload, cameras etc., military radios and exterior lighting. For MRTT, a remote surveillance of approaching/refueling process with a night-vision capable video system had to be developed. This system (developed by a small company from Germany called FTI group) allows operation both with visible light and also near-infrared radiation. The Refuelling Monitor was integrated in the year 2008.
  • Reinforced wings and aircraft floor
  • Minor cockpit modifications.

The design of the pod and wing reinforcements and systems was subcontracted to ITD SA, at that time part of the ITP Group.

The Luftwaffe was the first customer for the MRTT, converting four of their seven A310s. The RCAF converted two of their five A310s, which are known as the CC-150 Polaris in Canadian service, to MRTT configuration.

While the current MRTTs rely on probe/drogue refueling, EADS has invested $90m in research and development of a boom refueling system such as that used by the USAF. They are now able to offer tankers from the A310 with refueling pods to the larger A330 MRTT equipped with refueling booms.

An A310 MRTT is somewhat smaller than the A330 MRTT. Since the production of A310 airframes was discontinued, the conversion can only be made on refurbished airliners, or as an upgrade to A310s already used by air forces (the option taken by Germany and Canada). As a tanker, it has a similar fuel capacity to the KC-135R. Because of the larger cabin it is much more flexible, offering good capacity for cargo, troop transport, VIP transport or other uses, and lacking only the capacity to land on rough strips to qualify as a strategic transport. Airbus hopes to sell it to some of the countries that need to replace the Boeing 707s they use as tankers.

The first operational use with the German Luftwaffe took place on February 4, 2009, when three German Eurofighter Typhoons were refuelled by an A310 MRTT tanker aircraft during their deployment from Laage Airbase (Rostock, Germany) to Yelahanka Airbase (Bangalore, India).[2]

Pakistan has also ordered MRTT capability built on an A310, although the aircraft is no longer in production.[3]

A310 MRTT boom refueling system demonstrator, 2008
Aire75 International Airshow at the Torrejón Air Base (Spain).

Specifications (A310 MRTT)[edit]

Data from[4] Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide 5th ed.[5]

General characteristics


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ "A310 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport, Europe".[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Flugrevue, German Language
  3. ^ "Pakistan Eyes Boost in Transport, Lift". 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  4. ^ "A310 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport, Europe (Specifications)". Retrieved 19 August 2011. .[unreliable source?]
  5. ^ Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide 5th ed. 2007, p. 420.

External links[edit]