I’ve been posting a lot of Boeing videos lately, but they’re not the only one making them. Airbus has been posting videos as well, but, frankly most of them are just so painfully dull. They really need a better video team. Anyway, while I was away they posted a number of videos from the Singapore Airshow 2012, and I felt three of them were worth sharing. Maybe.
The first video is a look at the Airbus Military A330 MRTT. That’s the Multi-Role Tanker Transport based on the A330 wide body twin airliner. It is very similar to the A330-based KC-45A that initially won the USAF’s KC-X tanker competition, before that decision was overturned and the Boeing B767-based KC-46A won the re-competition. Like the earlier B707-based KC-135 and DC-10 based KC-10, the A330 MRTT can serve as a cargo hauler and/or mid-air refueling tanker, as well as carrying passengers with a palletized seating system installed on the main deck, instead of cargo containers.
The aircraft in the video is configured per the RAF’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) requirements, which means it doesn’t have a refueling boom but rather has a third refueling drogue in the tail, in addition to two under the wing. The MRTT benefits from the A330′s history in a key way. The A330 and A340 are sibling aircraft and were designed with a lot of commonality – including the wing. But while the A330 is a twin-engine aircraft, the A340 is a four engine aircraft. The A330 simply doesn’t use the two outer engine mounting hardpoints. But the MRTT does – that’s where the refueling pods are hung. Quite convenient, having the reinforcements and plumbing in place, whereas Boeing needed to modify the B767 wing.
The A330 MRTT has been selected by the United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The B767-based KC-46A has been selected by the USAF, while Italy and Japan operate earlier ‘KC767′ models directly derived from the commercial B767.
The second video is a look at the overall Airbus Military lineup from the small CN235, to the medium C295, to the A330 MRTT, and up to the A400M tactical airlifter. Unfortunately, like too many of Airbus’s videos, it suffers from ‘talking head syndrome’. Guys, show the speaker to set it up, then continue as a voice over and show more of what he’s talking about. You don’t need to keep showing the speaker, a person talking isn’t that interesting. Anyway, starting around the 1:30 mark there’s some nice air-to-air shots of the A330 MRTT showing both boom and drogue refueling. There’s nice, if short, clip of the A400M after that.
And now for something completely different. The last video is non-military, in fact it is the other end of the spectrum, the Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ). Both Boeing and Airbus offer corporate and/or private versions of their commercial products. Boeing calls these the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ). The bulk of the BBJ market is B737-based, while the ACJ is mainly the A320 family – from the A318 to the A321. The video has too much ‘talking head’, but in and around that you get a look around the cabin of an entry level ACJ318. For those who need a bit more room than a ‘conventional’ business jet. They get in a little dig on the BBJ too.