The first Phenix (Phoenix) multi-role tanker transport (MRTT), designed by Airbus Defence for France’s Armée de L’air (Air Force) made its maiden flight on September 7 from the company’s Getafe conversion centre near Madrid in Spain.
The Phenix MRTT is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. The Phenix is the first of nine plus three options on order by the French Direction générale de l’armement (Director General Armaments – DGA), and the second new standard A330 MRTT which features structural modifications, and aerodynamic improvements.
In French service the A330 MRTT will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and equipped with a combination of the Airbus Refuelling Boom System and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. It will also be possible to configure them in a variety of layouts carrying up to 271 passengers as well as medevac arrangements including the French MORPHEE intensive care module carrying up to ten patients as well as 88 passengers.
The combat-proven A330 MRTT has been ordered by seven nations which have now placed firm orders for 49 aircraft, of which 26 have been delivered.