Airborne Video System for Air-to-Air Refueling

Safe inflight refueling with 3D camera systems

Display Console for Airborne Video System for AAR

Kappa Vision System for A330 MRTT

Kappa develpment for Airbus Defence & Space

The most modern tanker aircraft on the world market relies on Kappa camera systems. Kappa has developed the vision system for the A330 MRTT in cooperation with Airbus Defence & Space (formerly Airbus Military). The tank boom in particular is highly sophisticated and has the highest throughput of up to 4,500 l/min. 

The vision system consists of logically separated subsystems. The main system provides a 3D view of the tank boom contact area with two separate optical channels, each full HD. This view is the operator's main tool, the central video management unit superimposes displays of all relevant data of the tank operation here. A second system provides a panoramic view composed of image data from 3 cameras with 240°-330° viewing angles, ensuring overview of all operations in 24/7 operation with vision systems for day/night vision and covert operations. Another pair of cameras, with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities, tracks tank operations at the drogues. The systems are partially redundant with each other, ensuring safe operations even in the event of a failure.

Air refueling: visual monitoring of the dangerous maneuver

Aerial refueling has been used for military purposes for 60 years. It enables strategic air surveillance over long distances and fast transports to any point on Earth. Technically, aerial refueling is a very complicated and dangerous maneuver. The docking of two aircraft in motion requires constant visual surveillance. Modern large tanker aircraft have, in addition to the widely used systems of probe and drogue, a refueling boom that pumps far more fuel.

The tank boom is operated by an operator (boomer) who must have a clear view of the tank boom and the contact zone at all times. Only the latest generations of large tankers use electronic cameras exclusively to visually monitor the refueling process. The operator now sits at a console behind the cockpit and controls the tank boom using live images from the cameras. The cameras and all the components of the visual system that process the image data, right up to the monitor, are therefore safety-relevant and are subject to approval procedures.

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Enhanced AAR Vision System

Upgrade for tanker aircraft Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport)  to improve its in-flight refueling operations, even at night. Kappa optronics has developed an innovative panorama solution for the proven Boom Enhanced Vision System. It encompasses vision systems for day and night vision and ergonomics are significantly improved. 


AIRBUS awards 'Best Innovator Overall' 2019 for Defence and Space business to Kappa optronics

Kappa optronics receives the Best-in Class supplier award for its innovation activities on the A330 MRTT Boom Enhanced Vision System. The award winners had been selected from more than 10.000 AIRBUS suppliers. Thank you AIRBUS for the great recognition! 


Technical Highlights

Full HD progressive Video
60-millisecond glass-to-glass latency
Open modular architecture with upscalable capabilities and module’s obsolescence management
State-of-the-art sensor technology with daytime color and nighttime monochrome images, both under various lighting and weather conditions.
Low-latency, high definition enabling machine vision algorithms for Automated ARR.
Customer Specific Overlay Processing
COTS sensor-based cameras provide the best price-toperformance ratio with high resolution, frame rate and image quality under all conditions, while their modular technology ensures efficient obsolescence management.
IR-Illuminators for night operations for covert mode

Components of Kappa Enhanced AAR Vision Systems

Cameras, day & night

  • For any lighting and weather conditions & covert operations
  • Military rugged design
  • Single-frame latency
  • DO178 DAL

Panoramic and 3D displays

  • Full HD resolution for either panoramic or 3D view
  • Low latency
  • Dynamic image stitching to ensure permanent alignment of the panoramic and 3D images
  • Commercial off-the-shelf

Management unit/recorder

  • Customizable software design that enables mission-critical overlays and recordings for debriefing / training
  • Low latency
  • Data encryption in accordance with the most recent certification standards (AES256, RSA2048)
  • D0178 DAL
Eva Konta, Lead Management | Kappa optronics Eva Konta, Lead Management | Kappa optronics

Eva Konta

Lead Management

[English] [English]

Pascal Greinke

Program Manager Aviation | Defense

Marucie Knapp, Kappa optronics Inc., USA Team Expert Marucie Knapp, Kappa optronics Inc., USA Team Expert

Maurice Knapp

President Kappa USA | North America

Telephone +49 5508 974 - 0