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While operated for some time as a pure transport aircraft the [[Airbus A310]] is now being offered as the '''Multi Role Tanker Transport''' (MRTT) through the addition of an [[aerial refueling]] capability.
The aircraft are manufactured and modified by [[EADS]]/[[Airbus]]. The conversion involves
*Installation of two AAR pods 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 called VIDAIR) allows operation both with visible light and also near-infrared radiation.
*Reinforced wings and aircraft floor
*Minor cockpit modifications.
The [[Luftwaffe|German Air Force (Luftwaffe)]] has become the first customer for the MRTT, converting four of their seven A310s. The [[Canadian Forces]] have ordered two, converting two of their five A310s, which are known as the [[CC-150 Polaris]] in Canadian service.
While the current MRTTs rely on probe/drogue refueling EADS has invested $90m in research and development of a boom refueling system—as used by the [[USAF]]. They are now able to offer tankers from the small A310 with refueling pods to the large [[Airbus A330 MRTT|A330 MRTT]] equipped with refueling booms.
EADS has taken advantage of [[Boeing]]'s difficulties over the USAF [[KC-767]] deal, restating their bid for the USAF contract (though many observers doubt the MRTT's chances). EADS has won the recent UK (through Airtanker consortium) and Australian contracts to provide AAR/AT for both air forces with the A330.
A310 MRTT is significantly smaller than A330 MRTT. Since production of A310 airframes is over, it can only be made from refurbished airliners, or as an upgrade to A310's already used by Air forces (option chosen by Germany and Canada). As a tanker, it has very similar capacity to [[KC-135|KC-135R]], but, because of the larger cabin, it is much more flexible, offering good capacity for cargo, troop transport, VIP transport, or other use, 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 707]]'s they use as tankers.
== See also ==
*[[Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft]]
== External links ==
*[http://www.airtanker.co.uk Air Tanker Consortium]
* [[Airbus A310]]
* [[Airbus A330 MRTT]]
International military tanker aircraft 2000-2009]]
International military transport aircraft 2000-2009]]
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