Mercury Systems’ Computer Powers Airbus Tanker’s Automatic Aerial Refueling

Mercury Systems revealed that its mission computer built for the Airbus A330 MRTT allowed the tanker to receive the world’s first certification for automatic air-to-air refueling (A3R).

The Massachusetts-based aerospace company built the computer based on the commercial off-the-shelf ROCK platform that “handles video streams with very low latency across multiple processors.”

Airbus revealed its aeronautical milestone in June.

“Mercury developed the high-performance computing platform that allowed Airbus DS to integrate the core artificial vision algorithms that made this achievement possible,” Airbus’ Luis Miguel Hernández said.

Airbus collaborated with the Republic of Singapore Air Force for the development, flight tests, and certification of the A330 tanker’s A3R capability.

“Enhanced maintenance capabilities have been developed, allowing faster resolution of ground tasks, while providing the means for maximizing the efficient use of spare parts,” the company said.

‘New-Generation, Combat-Proven’

The multi-role A330 tanker is a combat-proven jet that supports transport, deployment, and refueling missions.

The tanker can carry up to 111 tons of fuel and is capable of offloading 50,000 kilograms (110,231 pounds) of fuel to a broad range of receivers.

“More fuel on-board means more flexibility, more range, and longer time on station,” Airbus said.

“Its enormous fuel capacity allows the A330 MRTT to act as a force multiplier, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of fast jets operations.”

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