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Airbus Defence and Space has congratulated the Royal Saudi Air Force on its successful deployment of eight F-15 fighters to the USA for Red Flag 2014 through the use of its new fleet of Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transports. In a letter to RSAF Commander Gen Fayyadh Al Ruwaili, Philippe Galland, Head of Customer Services expressed his appreciation for the “exceptional” wintertime North Atlantic refuelling operation.
Two A330 MRTTs were used to enable the deployment from Saudi Arabia to Nellis AFB in the USA on a three-leg journey of some 9,000nm (16,600km). After three weeks of highly realistic combat training in the USA, the fighters were returned home by the same means.
Staging through Moron AFB in Spain, and McGuire AFB in the USA, the A330 MRTT demonstrated its ability to support long-range oceanic deployments through the type’s first ever transatlantic deployment of fighters.
The two tankers were operated by the RSAF’s first combat-ready tranche of boom-qualified crews (pilots, air refuelling operators, mission operators) who successfully offloaded around a million pounds of fuel through the fly-by-wire boom during the mission despite challenging weather and light conditions.
Using the advanced planning systems of the MRTT, the crews were able to ensure complete safety of their respective formations through detailed real-time monitoring of the fuel state and diversion points of all the aircraft.
Airbus Defence and Space has been working with the RSAF since October last year to support the RSAF in the definition and accomplishment of the associated logistics – providing additional flight training, delivering spare Flyaway Kits and deploying technical specialists to the Main Operating Base as well as to fly on the missions. Philippe Galland said: “It was enormously satisfying to play our role in supporting this complex mission. “We greatly admire the RSAF’s accomplishment of this major deployment at a relatively early stage in their operation of the A330 MRTT.” He reiterated the company´s commitment to supporting RSAF operations for many years to come.