The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has received its first A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), Airbus Defence and Space announced today. The aircraft, 761, made its first official public appearance on Saturday September 1, at the RSAF’s 50th anniversary parade.
The RSAF Transport Group will receive six A330 MRTTs that will replace the four KC-135Rs. The RSAF’s MRTT differs from the previous baseline aircraft with a new standard of flight computers, structural and aerodynamics upgrades as well as improved on-board military systems. Since it represents a new variant, flight testing of the first RSAF MRTT took longer than expected.
The A330 MRTT will bring the RSAF’s strategic reach and transport capabilities to a new level. The aircraft’s upper deck can accommodate 380 passengers or 300 troops, while the lower deck can carry eight military pallets or 27 standard commercial LD3 containers.
Having six aircraft rather than four will allow the RSAF to orchestrate more overseas exercises and HADR deployments simultaneously, while supporting local RSAF operations with shorter turnovers. Carrying 20% more fuel than the KC-135R, the MRTT will allow RSAF fighters to stay aloft for longer periods, an especially important factor following the announced closure of Paya Lebar.
Serial 760, the initial Singaporean A330 for conversion to MRTT arrived at Getafe, Spain on September 30, 2015 and returned to the air post-conversion on September 30 the following year. The second for conversion to MRTT arrived at Getafe on December 14, 2016. The third and fourth were at Getafe by May this year.
See the April issue of AFM for a full assessment of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Air Combat Command as it celebrates its tenth year of existence, following a service-wide restructuring.