Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : March 2011 Contents 57
MARCH 2011 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
fore, trying to prepare a [technical] docu-
ment when you have a lot of input coming
from di erent areas is sometimes di cult.
Our specialists develop the documents
for their understanding -- they are highly
skilled specialists, but the readers may not
have the same background, and sometimes
there may be a con ict in their understand-
ing or the documents might be too techni-
cal. So, for our people to facilitate the read-
ers, this takes time because we're not just
talking about one document, there are a lot
of documents with very long review cycles
as well for all of the stakeholders within the
Commonwealth, so this is something that
is aggravating the problem."
AIRCDRE Lawson agreed that there
is some frustration on Airbus's behalf due
to the Australian process. "I think one of
their frustrations is that it 's not just the
resident project team (in Getafe) or even
the project o ce back here that they're
dealing with -- there are other agencies
within the air worthiness, regulatory or
capability management framework who
have signi cant input into the decision on
whether or not to accept these documents.
at's just the way we operate within the
" at is the basis on which we will rstly
accept the aircraft," added Ward. "And after
having accepted it, it is the basis of a set of
documentation that goes for ward to the
air worthiness authorities to initially get
a special ight permit to start operating
with the RAAF, and then an Australian
military type certi cate and service release.
at doesn't happen just because European
certi cation authorities said it was good --
it's that plus a whole lot of further evidence
in terms of compliance."
Whatever the reasons for the delays, it is
in the interest of both parties to resolve the
issues as soon as possible. For Airbus, it has
other customer MRTTs to develop for the
UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while the
lucrative USAF KC-X decision for which
EADS North America has bid an A330
based solution very similar to the Austral-
ian KC-30A, is due to be handed down --
for the third time -- in March.
Part of the Australian delivery solution
now appears to lie with a possible agreement
to deliver the capability in a two-staged
process, beginning with the wing mounted
refuelling pods and passenger/cargo capabil-
ity, and then later with the boom.
"We are reasonably satis ed that we have
tried to tackle the process in the right man-
ner, and potentially in the next few weeks
we hope to be able to isolate the major
issues to progress into delivery," said Peńa.
"We are currently discussing clear speci -
cations for the boom that will include addi-
tional requirements for a future generation
of boom that is currently in development.
So yes, what we are doing now is ensur-
ing that we deliver a product that complies
with certain requirements that are agreed
by the parties. So, the RAAF will introduce
the capability in a two-step process. First,
pods, because they have F/A-18s -- Super
Hornets and classic Hornets [which use
probe and drogue refuelling systems], and
they need this capability straight away since
the retirement of the F-111s to extend the
capabilities. And also in the terms of car-
rying people, for sending troops to areas of
operations, that is a quite important asset."
"We're certainly open to that two-staged
delivery process -- it's certainly been sug-
gested," continued AIRCDRE Lawson.
" e boom is the part of the design that
is the least mature, and we're in discus-
sions with the company at the moment to
sort out exactly what needs to happen for
"And a two-staged delivery ts in with
Air Force's capability requirements, in that
the near term focus is on ALS [air logistics
support] and the pods," added Ward. "In
terms of an e ective capability outcome,
Hornets and Super Hornets are the high-
est priority. And Air Force has necessity
issues as well -- they can't do everything at
once with the new platform -- they want
to crawl and then walk and then run. We
have boomers going through the training
program in Madrid, so we are starting to
feed the process, but the initial focus will be
on the ALS and pods."
Peńa added that further improvements
Further improvements will be made to the boom in order to deliver a
fully functioning capability by the rst quarter of 2012.
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