Boeing has stated in the past that EADS "continue(s) to struggle with the development of the boom they've proposed for the...tanker. Reports indicate their boom is not expected to be operational until late 2010." And Boeing reported that the Air Force had been very concerned about the EADS boom during the contract selection process.
EADS has countered that its "boom has been built, and successfully tested."
Here is what Aviation Week reported today:
"The Australian Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), the first developmental Airbus A330-based tanker, has been grounded since March while receiving new parts for its refueling boom system.
...The MRTT is expected to return to flight by September, according to Tim Paynter, a Northrop Grumman spokesman. He declined to provide dates for when the A330-based boom is expected to transfer fuel in flight to a receiver.
What is actually being done to the boom during this period is a bit murky."
A bit murky is right! The NG/EADS team has ridiculed Boeing as providing a Frankentanker but as this article points out, EADS has what could be described as the Bobbitboom. (In honor of John Bobbitt and his loving wife Loretta who previously lived in wedded bliss right down the road from DC in Manassas, Virginia.)
The Bobbittboom is currently on an A310 but EADS hopes to have it surgically attached to the A330 and fully functional by 2009 . As the article states:
"EADS has developed this boom specifically to compete with Boeing in the international tanker market. The boom on the A330 has not yet been extended during flight.
The boom system has been flying on an A310 test bed conducting various risk reduction activities."[The article goes on to say that the Australian tanker program has been restructured "to allow more time for development."]
We are somewhat sure there is a pill these days that can help with the failure to "extend" problem, but as for the boom reattachment to the A330...well your guess is as good as ours.