Airbus transforms A330s into Multi Role Tanker Transports

A330 MRTT static display ©Airbus

Airbus’ A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) are now being outfitted for their multi-mission duties in an optimized industrial process – enabling five aircraft to undergo the conversion every year.

The A330 MRTT is based on Airbus’ popular A330 widebody passenger airliner, with the aircraft produced on the company’s commercial airplane final assembly line in Toulouse, France. Once their initial built-up is complete, they are flown to Airbus’ military aircraft facility in Getafe, Spain to be transformed with hardware and systems for their dual roles as an air-to-air refueling platform and an airlifter for troops and cargo.

During the conversion, Airbus teams install some 16,000 types of new components and approximately 450 new electrical harnesses (for a total cabling length of more than 50 km.), as well as 6,000 brackets and 1,700 connectors.

With 42 A330 MRTTs delivered to date, Airbus’ has reduced the end-to-end transformation time by one month, introducing increased digitalization and applying the “takt” principle of lean production methodology – in which the aircraft moves through the conversion with zero hours pending and zero work orders open.

The digitalization includes the increasing use of Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headsets instead of computer tablets. With 80 to 90 work orders now produced with HoloLens, the goal is to apply the system during 2020 for 50% of overall work orders, mainly for electrical and hydraulic installations.

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