Military Aviation

First Elephant Walk for RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft

Moreover on Nov. 18, all eight RAAF C-17A Globemaster III cargo aircraft of 36sq have been parked together (briefly!) for the very first time in the service history.

On Nov. 15, 2019 for the first time ever five out of seven Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft belonging to 33sq performed an Elephant Walk filling the 1,000 ft (300 meters) of taxiway Alpha at RAAF Base Amberley. The two other KC-30As of the RAAF were not at home.

The KC-30A MRTT is fitted with two forms of air-to-air refuelling systems: an Advanced Refuelling Boom System mounted on the tail of the aircraft; and a pair of all-electric refuelling pods under each wing.

These systems are controlled by an Air Refuelling Operator in the cockpit, who can view refuelling on 2D and 3D screens.

The KC-30A can carry a fuel load of more than 100 tonnes, and transfer part of that load to compatible aircraft, including:

  • F/A-18A/B Hornets;
  • F/A-18F Super Hornets;
  • E/A-18G Growlers;
  • E-7A Wedgetails;
  • C-17A Globemaster III; and
  • Other KC-30As.

It is also compatible with refuelling P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, F-35A Lightning II, and foreign aircraft such as the F-16C Fighting Falcon and B-1B Lancer.

The KC-30A MRTT can remain 1800 km from its home base, with 50 tonnes of fuel available to offload for up to four hours.

In its transport role, the KC-30A is capable of carrying 270 passengers. It comes with under-floor cargo compartments which can accommodate 34,000 kilograms of military and civilian cargo pallets and containers.

Moreover, as reported by Scramble Magazine, on Nov. 18, all eight RAAF C-17A Globemaster III cargo aircraft of 36sq have been parked together (briefly!) for the very first time in the service history. The eight C-17A aircraft created a total wingspan of some 1,400 ft (420 meter).

The C-17A Globemaster III provides RAAF with an unprecedented capacity for strategic airlift. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, supplies, combat vehicles, heavy equipment and helicopters anywhere in the world.

Based at RAAF Base Amberley, all eight C-17As are operated by No. 36 Squadron, and provide a logistics backbone for Australian Defence Force operations overseas. This has included operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as East Timor.

Australia introduced an initial fleet of four C-17As between 2006 and 2008. Additional aircraft were acquired in 2011, 2012, and 2015.

C-17As have supported personnel on deployments, and been an integral part of disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

Past operations have included:

  • Op Bring Them Home (2014) in the Ukraine and Netherlands, following the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17;
  • Op Pacific Assist (2011) following the earthquake/tsunami in Japan; 
  • Op Queensland Flood Assist (2011);
  • Op Christchurch Assist (2011);
  • Op Philippines Assist (2013); and
  • Op Southern Indian Ocean (2014).
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. C-17A Globemaster III 60th Air Mobility Wing / 349th Air Mobility Wing, 21st Airlift Squadron, 06-6160 – Travis AFB, CA

Photo credit: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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