The Korean Air Force selected Airbus Defense and Space’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) as its first aerial refueling tanker.
On June 30, the 89th Defense Acquisition Program Executive Committee meeting chaired by Defense Minister Han Min-koo chose Europe’s Airbus D&S A330 MRTT over Boeing’s KC-46A and Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) B767 MMTT.
The price of the Airbus D&S A330 MRTT was at least 15 percent higher than that of the Boeing KC-46A, but its price went down due to the recent weak euro. Besides, the European aerospace and defense corporation offered outstanding prices, fighting for orders with Boeing.
The Airbus A330 MRTT is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. It is the largest among its competitors and is also designed as a dual-role air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft. The A330 MRTT has a maximum fuel capacity of 111 tons on the body and the wing. It can also carry up to 266 passengers and 37 tons of cargo.
The deal to procure four in-flight refueling tankers will be worth 1.4880 trillion won (US$1.33 billion), including 1.2 trillion won (US$1.07 billion) for the aircraft and 200 billion won (US$179.16 million) for the construction of facilities such as hangars and runways. The Air Force initially planned to purchase air refueling tankers from 2017, but rescheduled it after 2018 as it failed to secure the budget as planned. The Air Force will purchase a total of four aerial refueling tankers – two in 2018 and another two in 2019.