March 1, 2005 Air refuelling is a vital military capability that enables armed forces to rapidly deploy offensive, defensive and combat support aircraft, as well as troops and equipment, over long distances, as quickly as possible. The importance of air refuelling has been demonstrated over many years and the announcement earlier this week that AirTanker was to become the preferred bidder for the UK RAF replacement program highlights just how capable airtankers have become. The new A330 FSTA tankers will each be able to deliver 65 tonnes of fuel in their air-to-air refuelling role, at a distance of 1,000 miles from base, following up to two hours on station. All of the fuel, including that consumed by the A330 FSTA itself, is carried entirely within existing tanks in the wing and tail, leaving the whole cabin free for some 295 seats in a troop-transport role, and its entire cargo hold free to carry military equipment on pallets or in containers.
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