• A RAAF KC-30A MRTT with refuelling probe extended during trials.  Credit: Defence
    A RAAF KC-30A MRTT with refuelling probe extended during trials. Credit: Defence

Airbus has recently signed a contract to provide a digital services focus for the maintenance of the Air Refueling Boom System (ARBS) on the RAAF's KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) fleet.

Based on the Airbus suite of digital services SmartForce, the service is intended to support the operator in reducing maintenance costs and improving fleet availability by optimizing the fault diagnosis and troubleshooting tasks for the ARBS of the tanker aircraft, based on data analytics applications.

The Central Data System plays a key role, allowing operators to draw on the flight data recorded by the Mission Recording System and provides information outputs about issues registered during the flight and recommended maintenance actions to fix them.

Within the KC-30A Enterprise, the Central Data System is a joint development built upon a long-standing collaboration among Airbus, the Commonwealth and the Australian KC-30A Through Life Support (TLS) provider Northrop Grumman Australia, in sharing data and defining the architecture of the system.

“The Central Data System delivers a significant capability benefit for the KC-30A aircraft and demonstrates the strong commitment within the KC-30A enterprise to innovation and improvement," Group Captain Scott Parry, Officer Commanding Heavy Air Lift Systems Program Office, said.

Future proposed development of the capability will allow customers which apply this technology to their fleet to be able to extend the ARBS analytics to entire aircraft level diagnostics.

“Since the launch of SmartForce in 2018, Airbus is fully committed to support the digital initiatives of our customers," Stephan Miegel, Head of Military Aircraft Services at Airbus Defence and Space, said. Working collaboratively with them, we have signed five agreements for the co-development of new services and technologies."

“The introduction of the Central Data System has provided significant benefits in terms of increased availability of the ARBS," Jake Adams, Northrop Grumman Australia KC-30A Program Manager, said. "The recent agreement between Airbus and Northrop Grumman Australia ensures that the RAAF continues to benefit from this capability as well as providing the opportunity for ongoing collaboration and sharing of data and analytics to enhance the ARBS capability.”

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