GE Avi­a­tion im­ple­ments in-flight re­fu­elling probes on Air­bus A400M

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE DEVELOPMENTS -

As the Royal Air Force re­ceives its first Air­bus A400M At­las at RAF Brize Nor­ton, full-scale pro­duc­tion of the re­fu­elling probe for the A400M is now well un­der­way at GE Avi­a­tion, Ham­ble, pro­vid­ing key mis­sion ca­pa­bil­i­ties for this new­gen­er­a­tion multi-role mil­i­tary trans­port.

The six-me­tre-long probe is in­stalled on the A400M’s up­per fuse­lage above its cock­pit, al­low­ing the air­lifter to be re­fu­elled in flight. Such re­fu­elling ca­pa­bil­ity sig­nif­i­cantly ex­tends the mil­i­tary trans­port’s op­er­a­tional range, while also en­abling it to take on fuel for the sub­se­quent trans­fer to other air­craft when serv­ing as an aerial tanker it­self.

GE Avi­a­tion, Ham­ble is re­spon­si­ble for the metal­lic re­fu­elling probe’s de­sign, man­u­fac­ture and qual­i­fi­ca­tion. As part of the pro­duc­tion pack­age, the company also de­signed, builds and sup­plies the car­bon com­pos­ite fair­ings that en­sure smooth air­flow at the probe’s in­ter­face with the air­craft’s fuse­lage.

GE Avi­a­tion will be build­ing A400M re­fu­elling probes and fair­ings at the rate of 24 per year, de­liv­er­ing them to the air­craft’s fi­nal assem­bly line in Seville, Spain.

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