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C295 airlifter completes aerial refueling tests with Spanish Air Force

Photo: Airbus

The Airbus C295 tactical airlifter achieved its first wet contacts during an air-to-air (AAR) tanker flight test campaign that took place in late 2019 and early 2020.

First dry contacts of this flight test took place in December 2019 and were achieved using a closed ramp configuration, 100ft hose and remote vision system. The wet contacts, conducted out of Seville, Spain, took place in January 2020, between one Airbus C295 aircraft in tanker configuration and a Spanish Air Force C295 acting as receiver at flight speeds between 100-130 knots.

In total, the aircraft fitted with the removable AAR kit, performed five wet contacts transferring a total 1.5 tons of fuel. Tests were conducted in day-light conditions.

Captain Gabiña, the Spanish Air Force pilot who participated in the test campaign, said: ‘The degree of difficulty in flight test is always high since it involves performing maneuvers that no one has done before. It should be noted that due to the positive behavior of the aircraft, the operation has been good and straight forward’.

The flight test campaign also included night flight operations and the successful proximity test in pre-contact position with a Spanish Air Force F18 fighter at a flight speed of 210 knots.

Previously produced by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA, a Spanish aircraft manufacturer that is now part of Airbus Defence and Space), the C295’s production takes place at Airbus’ facility in Spain. It is used by both military and civil operators around the world. In addition to troop transport and patrol missions, the C295 can also be delivered in special versions such as gunship (close air support to ground troops, convoys, facilities, etc.) and optional self-protection equipment including cockpit armour, radar warning (RWR), missile warning (MAWS), laser warning (LWS), and chaff/flares dispensers.