A nice surprise visitor to Central Queensland during the afternoon on Friday 19 January with the latest to be delivered Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-200 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A39-006 spotted completing a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport. It was flying as "Dragon 10".
A39-006 had earlier flown North from RAAF Base Amberley with a flight of four RAAF F/A-18 Hornets "Ausy 991" and fellow RAAF KC-30A MRTT A39-002 "Ausy 442" and provided air-to-air refuelling support until they departed the Australian Flight Information Area (FIA) Boundary to the North of Australia. A39-006 then returned South and returned to Amberley via the missed approach at Rockhampton Airport.
A39-006 was delivered to the RAAF's 33 Squadron at Amberley in September 2017 and wore the Spanish delivery registration marking of 'EC-339'. This A330-200MRTT is an older airframe (MSN 892) and was originally manufactured in 2007 and delivered to Qantas Airways in early 2008 as VH-EBH. It previously wore the name 'Hunter Valley'.
VH-EBH operated with Qantas on domestic and international flights until May 2015 when it was withdrawn from service and flown to Singapore (Changi) Airport for end of lease maintenance and storage. VH-EBH/EC-339 was then flown to Getafe in Spain for conversion to A330-MRTT/KC-30A standard by Airbus Defence and Space.
A39-006 will soon be joined by a seventh KC-30A to be A39-007/EC-334 which is also currently believed to be in Spain. This airframe (MSN 898) also previously operated with Qantas Airways but as VH-EBI and wore the name 'Yarra Valley'. Rumours persist that the future A39-007 will be utilised as a VIP transport jet.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H who was the right place at the right time to capture some photos of this first visit by this KC-30!
All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman ©