Airbus A310 Multi Role Transport (MRT)
Airbus A310 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)
The Airbus A310 Multi Role Transport (MRT) was a joint project of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace Airbus GmbH and Lufthansa Technik for the German Air Force. The MRT could fulfil a wide range of different transport tasks with just one aircraft type. The concept was based on conversions of Airbus A310-300 commercial aircraft, which were already in worldwide operation. Standardized kits, including all systems for transport tasks, were used for the conversion in accordance with customer requirements.
The MRT version was realized by the conversion of Airbus passenger aircraft by means of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace Airbus conversion kits. In three versions, the aircraft could fulfil the tasks passenger/personnel transport, combined cargo and passenger/personnel transport, or conduct ambulance flights for ill, hurt or wounded persons (MEDEVAC). All versions offered the advantages of modern, economic and proven medium-to-long-range widebody aircraft and were capable of performing transport tasks at favorable operating costs. At the same time, the fleet of transport aircraft was harmonized by having only one single aircraft type, including VIP versions. With this cargo combi version, a wide range of transport tasks cuold be covered: transporting personnel and cargo as well as conducting ambulance flights. The integration of a tanker kit for air-to-air refueling by means of Airbus Industrie conversion kits was also expected to be possible at a later date. The first order for the MRT aircraft for the German Air Force came in 1998. Canada subsequently ordered 5 aircraft, designated CC-150 Polaris, for its Air Force.
The Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) concept provided for the use of the twin-jet A310 to be used as a multi-purpose military transport and tanker. This enhanced the MRT into an MRTT for the German Air Force through the installation of a tanker kit. The A310 MRTT was based on the A310 passenger aircraft, which was first converted to combine passenger and cargo carrying capabilities in the MRT version. A310 MRT aircraft had been flying with the German and Canadian Air Forces for a number of years prior and had proven to be reliable and flexible passenger and cargo transport aircraft.
Following a second modification, the MRT aircraft were transformed into the MRTT version of the A310, which included in-flight refuelling capabilities for all military aircraft that can connect to hose/drogue refuelling systems, such as the Tornado, the Eurofighter, and F-18. The A310 MRTT conversion package was offered by a consortium of Airbus and Lufthansa Technik (LHT). The work on 3 aircraft would be done at Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in Dresden, while another 3 aircraft would be converted at LHT facilities in Hamburg.
On 29 September 2004, the first 2 A310 MRTT aircraft were handed over to the German Air Force and the Canadian Air Force. A total of 6 A310 MRTTs, to be used both for passenger and cargo transport, as well as for in-flight refuelling, were scheduled to be delivered to the German Air Force, which would receive 4 aircraft, and the Canadian Air Force, which would receive 2. The Canadian MRTT aircraft retained their CC-150 Polaris designation.
With this milestone event, Airbus became a provider of aircraft with in-flight refuelling capabilities, further expanding the scope of its products. Together with the A330 MRTT and the A400M, which was a tactical tanker, several tanker solutions with distinctive qualities would be available from the company.
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