Tuesday, May 14, 2024

NATO orders additional A330 MRTT aircraft

Airbus has announced the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has ordered an additional Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), increasing the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) to 10 aircraft.

According to a press release from Airbus, this announcement follows Belgium’s decision to increase its number of hours in the program with an additional 1,100 flight hours per year.

The Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) provides strategic transport, air-to-air refuelling and medical evacuation capabilities to its six participating nations: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Norway. These Nations signed the Memorandum of Understanding that enables them to share costs proportionally according to the national commitment of flight hours per year.

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“Since the arrival of the first aircraft in 2020 and especially since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the MMF is protecting European sovereignty and showing its capabilities as a multirole tanker,” said Jean Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. “With this new order, NSPA has already acquired one out of four optional MRTTs requested beyond the nine aircraft contracted earlier, demonstrating the level of customer satisfaction.”

MMU already operates seven A330 MRTTs and reached Initial Operational Capability ceremony on March 23rd. Full Operational Capability is expected in mid-2024.

Its success relies on the excellent cooperation between NATO, the participating nations and industry. The programme also stands as an example on how nations can cooperate, pooling and sharing resources to get ongoing access to state of the art capabilities.

The unit has been deployed in NATO’s Eastern Flank, as well as for the evacuation of Afghanistan civilians and refugees and for multinational exercises in the Indo-Pacific region with the German Air Force, among other missions.

Two of the tankers yet to be delivered are expected to enter service in 2024, while this new aircraft will arrive at the end of 2026. The MRTTs from MMF operate from MMU Main Operating Base (MOB) in Eindhoven (Netherlands) and the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Cologne (Germany).

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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