The Airbus A310 is a short to medium range widebody airliner developed from
the Airbus A300 and manufactured by Airbus Industrie.
Perhaps the greatest attribute of the A310 is that of range. The A310-300's
range exceeds all A300 models and the -200 exceeds all A300 models in range
except the A300-600. This quality has led to the aircraft being used extensively
on transatlantic routes. The A300 and A310 introduced the concept of
commonality which has become one of the Airbus family's greatest marketing
points in that A300-600 and A310 pilots can qualify for the other aircraft with only
one day of training.
The aircraft was formally launched in July 1978 for Lufthansa and Swissair.
A further development of the A300, the aircraft was initially designated
the A300 B10. Essentially a "baby" A300, the main differences in the two
-Shortened fuselage - same cross section, providing capacity of about 200.
-Redesigned wing - designed by British Aerospace who rejoined Airbus consortium
-Smaller vertical stabilizer
The A310 is marketed as an excellent introduction to widebody operations
for developing airlines. With the Airbus A330 now a major success, further
orders for the A310 are unlikely. 255 A310s were delivered by Airbus from
1983 to 1997. The A300 and A310 established Airbus as a major competitor to
Boeing and allowed it to go ahead with the more ambitious A330/A340 family.
A310-200 The first A310 was the 162nd Airbus off the production line, the
aircraft made its maiden flight in April 1982 powered by Pratt & Whitney JT9Ds.
The -200 entered service with Swissair and Lufthansa a year later.
A310-300 First flown in July 1985, the -300 has an increased MTOW and
increased range provided by additional center and horizontal stabilizer
trim fuel tanks. This model also introduced winglets to improve
aerodynamic efficiency and have since been retrofitted to some -200s. The
aircraft entered service in 1986, again with Swissair.
A310-C The convertible model can be produced from either model, taking the
designations A310-200C and -300C.
A310-F No production freighters were ever produced, operators (e.g. FedEx) instead
choosing to adapt ex-airline A310s.
A310 MRTT While operated for some time as a pure transport aircraft the
Airbus A310 is now being offered as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)
through the addition of an aerial refueling capability.
The aircraft are manufactured and modified by EADS/Airbus. The conversion involves:
-Installation of two AAR pods under each wing
-Four additional fuel tanks (extra 28,000kg) - giving total capacity of
-Fuel Operator Station (FOS) to control fuel offload, cameras etc,
military radios and exterior lighting
-Reinforced wings and aircraft floor
-Minor cockpit modifications
The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) was the first customer for the MRTT,
converting four of their seven A310s. The Canadian Forces have ordered two,
converting two of their five A310s, which are known as the CC-150 Polaris
in Canadian service.
While the current MRTTs rely on probe/drogue refueling EADS has invested $90m
in research and development of a boom refueling system as is used by the USAF.
They are now able to offer tankers from the small A310 with refueling pods to
the large A330 MRTT equipped with refueling booms.
EADS has taken advantage of Boeing's difficulties over the USAF KC-767 deal,
restating their bid for the USAF contract (although with little or no hope
of success). EADS has won the recent UK (through Airtanker consortium) and
Australian contracts to provide AAR/AT for both air forces with the A330.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Airbus A310".