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Working in close collaboration with the RSAF and the manufacturer, DSTA managed the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) programme, which involved modifications of the commercial A330-200 aircraft for military use.

Meant to replace the KC-135R that has been in service for more than 20 years, the A330-MRTT is equipped with an aerial refuelling system to conduct Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) for other aircraft. The A330 MRTT’s ability to airlift greater cargo loads as compared to the KC-135Rs will also better support Singapore’s contributions to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, aeromedical evacuation and peace support missions.

The A330-MRTT was originally operated by a flight crew of four comprising a pilot, a co-pilot, an Aerial Refuelling Operator (ARO) and a Mission Coordinating Officer (MCO). As the A330-MRTT has advanced avionics and an improved operating console, and taking reference from the KC-135R’s three-crew operation mode, the team believed it was feasible to operate the aircraft with a smaller crew.

Hence, the team started streamlining work processes and optimising resources for the A330-MRTT. The team also consulted other air forces that had already been operating an earlier version of the A330-MRTT, and assessed that a three-crew operation was viable. Convinced of its feasibility, the manufacturer certified the aircraft for a three-crew operation at no cost to the RSAF.

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