It is still semi-dark and the wind is whistling over the runway, but the crew of the A330 MRTT are already getting ready at 6 a.m.Multi role tanker transport and the mechanics of the multinational MRTT Multi role tanker transport Unit (MMU) on the upcoming flight. Because today is a special day, and not just for the first time the MMF Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport Fleet 01 with the tail number T-054 from Eindhoven, but for the very first time an A330 is refueling MRTT Multi role tanker transport MMU another aircraft in the air - the Eurofighter 2000 of the Luftwaffe team.
At 8:35 a.m. the time has come and the team led by Lieutenant Colonel Timo E., aircraft commander of the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport in training and an experienced pilot of the Air Force team, climbs up and makes his way to southern Germany. The pilot at his side is Major Stijn v. A., Belgian Air Force, and the instructor on the flight is Captain Chris H., Dutch Air Force. The two Dutch air refueling operators (eng. Air Refueling Operator, shortly ARO), Sergeant Major Herman J. and René vd G., complete the team of the MMU.
After about an hour of flight time, the multinational crew of the MMU has reached its temporary destination - the airspace in southern Germany. Now it's getting exciting: While the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport on its circular trajectory, the Eurofighters of the Tactical Air Force Wing 74 are approaching in Neuburg an der Donau. The aircraft commander of the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport gives the signal to deploy the "hose-and-drogue" refueling system - a refueling hose with a collecting basket at the end. This is extended and the air refueling operator prepares to refuel the MMF Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport FleetPartner.
This marks the beginning of the crucial refueling phase. The Eurofighters from Neuburg connect with the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport and position yourself on the left side of the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport. Now the full concentration of everyone involved is required, because refueling in full flight at 260 to 310 knots at an altitude of 29,000 feet is precision work. The commander of the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport transmits the radio to the air refueling operator, who guides the Eurofighters safely to the air refueling hose.
Done - the Eurofighter pilot has safely navigated the filler neck into the refueling basket and refueling begins. The A330 MRTT can handle a maximum of 1250 kg per minute Multi role tanker transport deliver the MMU to its recipient via the air refueling hose. After 5-10 minutes, the Eurofighter's tank is full and the air refueling operator coordinates its departure via the right wing of the A330 to make room for the next jets. A total of eight Eurofighters were refueled today before heading back home to Eindhoven.
"The cooperation with the Euro fighters of Team Air Force is very professional and run smoothly," Lieutenant Colonel Timo E. told after landing, "I am pleased that the first flight of our T-054 and at the same time our first aerial refueling with the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport worked so well. "
The Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Fleet Program with its unit of the MMU has thus passed another milestone and once again underlines its role as a multinational showcase project for successful international cooperation by NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization Partners.
Not only through the significant German participation in the project, but also through the close cooperation with the Air Force team, Germany makes an important contribution to the continuous progress of the promising program.
“I would like to express my thanks to all the soldiers from the MMU and the Air Force team who took part in today's first in-flight refueling with the A330 MRTT Multi role tanker transport made possible ", adds Colonel Markus Bestgen, acting commander MMU," I am looking forward to further joint missions with our MMF Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport Fleet Partners ".