Airbus Defence and Space has developed an air-to-air refueling system for the C295 tactical military transport aircraft and a ‘dry contact’ flight test is planned for 2016. Trials with full fuel transfers will follow.
The company’s C295 military turboprop is late to have an air-to-air refueling option, which has been frustrating for customers, some of which have gone to other manufacturers for aircraft that have this ability.
The C295 will be tested with a centerline, cabin-mounted hose-and-drogue rig for inflight refueling of combat helicopters. If successful, industry sources suggest the optional technology would be available in 2017. Potential buyers have already expressed interest in the air-to-air arrangements designed by Airbus.
Other modifications for the C295 include plans to experiment with ‘XTOL’ (extreme takeoff and vertical landing). “We are still in the technical analysis phase,” said an Airbus spokesperson. “The program involves an aggressive optimization of flap-utilization in line with the approved operations for A400M. This will allow a significant reduction in ground runs, improving the tactical capabilities of the C295.”
The C295W, the company’s latest variant, is equipped with winglets for a 4% improvement in fuel efficiency as well as improved lift, range and performance in hot and high conditions.
According to Airbus figures updated in December 2015, the company has delivered 144 of 165 total C295 orders, with 142 aircraft currently in operation.
January 21, 2016