June 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 2 
Industry Wrap

EADS unveils prototype refueling boom

European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., the parent of Airbus, recently unveiled a prototype of a critical piece of equipment—an extendable boom—it's developing in its effort to seek military refueling-aircraft contracts.

EADS must develop a boom, through which fuel would be transferred from a tanker aircraft to fighter jets and cargo planes, to compete for tanker pacts. Currently, Boeing is the world's only company that has a functioning refueling boom.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, EADS' experimental boom is mounted on a five-story tower with a control room. A boom operator sits in the control room, maneuvering the boom's extending arm toward a piece of metal that represents the receiving aircraft. When the boom successfully connects with its target, a fuel substitute is pumped into the metal section, simulating the refueling action that takes place in flight.

At this point, the prototype boom is the only one that exists, the Tribune said. EADS hopes to test its boom in flight early next year.

"The concepts of our engineers ... are becoming a reality," Francisco Carrasco, head of EADS' boom development program, said in the Tribune report.

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