Posted by John McHaleARLINGTON, Va., 18 Sept. 2010. The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA), designed and built for England's Royal air force (RAF), today completed its first flight after being configured for its tanker transport mission. The aircraft took off from the Airbus Military facility in Getafe, Spain, and landed there after a flight of approximately two hours.The FSTA is England's configuration of the Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which is the tanker that EADS North America is offering to the U.S. Air Force in the KC-45 configuration. That tanker has been selected by four U.S. allies so far, and has completed hundreds of flight hours and more than a thousand refueling contacts for the Royal Australian air force, which will accept its first two deliveries in the fall."We now have A330 multi-role tankers in flight for two U.S. allies, with proven refueling systems that form the foundation of the KC-45 configuration," says Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADS North America chairman. "In other words, the tanker we are offering to the U.S. Air Force isn't just a concept on paper, it is real and proving itself every day."The FSTA configuration includes two digital hose-and-drogue refueling pods under the wings, plus a hose-and-drogue fuselage refueling unit on the centerline. Both of these systems will be on the KC-45, as will be the company's advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System, which recently demonstrated in flight its ability to meet the U.S. Air Force requirement for high fuel offload at 1,200 gallons a minute.To learn more about the KC-45, visit www.kc-45now.com.