Airbus DS demonstrates automatic aerial refuelling for A330 MRTT

简氏:空客防务和航天公司演示A330 MRTT自动空中加油

Date:2020-04-21 Source:Jane's By:Globalmil Viewed:

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review
19 April 2020
加雷斯·詹宁斯(Gareth Jennings),伦敦-简氏国际防务评论

Airbus demonstrated its new automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) systems during a series of tests between an A330 MRTT tanker and an F-16 receiver earlier in the year. Source: Airbus
空中客车公司在今年初对A330 MRTT型加油机和F-16接受装置进行了一系列测试,展示了其新的自动空中加油(A3R)系统。 资料来源:空客公司
Airbus Defence and Space (DS) announced the first ever automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) operation for an aircraft fitted with a boom system on 17 April.

The event saw a company-owned A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft connect with a Portuguese Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon receiver using the Airbus automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) solution.

Testing itself took place earlier this year over the Atlantic Ocean, with 45 flight test hours and 120 dry contacts with the A3R system made. The entire aerial refuelling envelope was covered, and certification is slated to commence in 2021.

As noted by Airbus, the A3R system requires no additional equipment on the receiver aircraft and is intended to reduce air refuelling operator (ARO) workload, improve safety and optimise the rate of air-to-air refuelling transfer in operational conditions. The goal for the A3R system is to develop technologies that will reach fully autonomous capabilities, the company said.

“Once the system is activated by the ARO, the A3R flies the boom automatically and keeps the alignment between the boom tip and the receiver receptacle with an accuracy of a couple of centimeters; the proper alignment and the receiver stability is checked in real-time to keep a safe distance between the boom and the receiver and also to determine the optimum moment to extend the telescopic beam to achieve the connection with the receiver. At this point, the fuel transfer is initiated to fill up the receiver aircraft and once completed and the disconnection is commanded, the boom is cleared away from the receiver by retracting the telescopic beam and flying the boom away to keep a safe separation distance. During this process, the ARO simply monitors the operation,” Airbus explained.
“一旦系统被空中加油操作员激活,A3R系统就会自动操纵桁杆,并保持桁杆末端和接受装置插口之间的对准精度达到几厘米;实时检查正确的对准和接受装置的稳定性,以保持桁杆和接受装置之间的安全距离,并确定伸长伸缩桁杆以实现与接受装置的连接的最佳力矩。在这一点上,开始进行燃料传输向接收装置飞机加油,一旦完成并命令断开连接,则通过缩回伸缩桁杆并使操纵桁杆离开以保持安全的分离距离,将操纵桁杆从接收装置上移走。 在此过程中,空中加油操作员只是监视运行情况。”空客解释说。

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