RSAF’s A330 MRTT Gains Full Operational Capability

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has declared its fleet of six Airbus A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) aircraft fully operational at a ceremony at Changi Air Base (East) on 20 April.

The attainment of full operational capability (FOC) comes after an operationalisation programme that commenced as soon as the first A330 MRTT arrived home on 14 August 2018 following conversion work by Airbus Defence and Space in Getafe, Spain, to transform the baseline commercial A330-200 passenger aircraft for air-to-air refuelling (AAR), airlift support, and aeromedical evacuation (AME) operations.

Speaking at the event, Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen highlighted that the A330 MRTT’s FOC is a part of ongoing efforts to sustain and improve the RSAF’s capabilities to meet evolving operational needs. The new aircraft replaces the four Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker aerial tankers previously operated by 112 Squadron, which ceased operation of the refurbished former-USAF platforms in June 2019 and have since fully transitioned to the new platform.

RSAF and DSTA personnel involved in the development and operationalisation of the A330 MRTT aircraft pose in front of the fleet. The type attained full operational capability on 20 April.

“The MRTT marks another step up in extending the range of RSAF’s fleet of planes. This journey of mid-air refuelling started more than 30 years ago,” said Ng. “It was given a boost 20 years ago with the KC-135 Stratotankers, the MRTT’s immediate predecessor, now retired.”

He also noted the efforts of Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) engineers involved in the development and delivery of the new aircraft, who “enabled operational and technical problems to be addressed, such as the [AAR] boom not performing up to the manufacturer’s standards during flight trials”.

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