Airbus Accomplished The World's First Fully Automatic Refueling In The Air
The world's first fully automatic air refueling was made by Airbus, the press service of the European company reported.
Flights were performed over the Atlantic ocean, as a tanker aircraft used a specially prepared A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport — "multi-purpose tanker)," in the role of refueling was an F-16 fighter of the Portuguese air force. The volume of testing in total amounted to 45 flight hours.
It is reported that using the new refueling system does not require the installation of additional equipment on aircraft receiving fuel. The system is designed to facilitate the work of the air refueling operator. This, according to the idea of Airbus, should help" achieve a maximum advantage in the air."
According to the manufacturer's explanation, when the system is activated, "the rod automatically flies out and aligns with an accuracy of a couple of centimeters". After that, the automation determines" the optimal moment for extending the telescopic tip and connecting to the refueling aircraft." According to the manufacturer, the air refueling operator" simply controls the operation" of the automatic system.
Airbus intends to start certifying the refueling device in 2021.