The Airbus C295 tactical airlifter has successfully achieved its first wet contacts during an air-to-air (AAR) tanker flight test campaign, the company announced on 29 January.

First dry contacts in the test campaign were conducted in December and were achieved using a closed ramp configuration, 100ft hose and remote vision system. The wet contacts, conducted out of Seville earlier this month, involved one C295 aircraft in tanker configuration and a Spanish Air Force C295 acting as receiver: contacts took place 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.

Capt Gabiña, the Spanish Air Force pilot who participated in the test campaign, commented “The degree of difficulty in flight test is always high since it involves performing manoeuvres that no one has done before. It should be noted that due to the positive behaviour of the aircraft, the operation has been good and straight forward.”

The flight test campaign also included night flight operations and a successful proximity test in pre-contact position with a Spanish Air Force F18 fighter at a flight speed of 210 knots. The successful tests will expand the C295’s established versatility for tactical operations to include refuelling missions for helicopters, transport and fighter aircraft.

Two C295s engaged in AAR wet contacts in January. (Photo: Airbus)

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