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Two first A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft to be delivered next month.

| 2020

According to news published by the NATO website on May 14, 2020, NATO’s Multinational MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) Fleet (MMF) will take delivery of its first two A330 MRTT tanker aircraft next month. The handover of the first two aircraft to the Main Operating Base in Eindhoven is scheduled to start next month.

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Two first A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft to be delivered next month 925 001 A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft performs refueling operation. (Picture source Airbus)

The first two of eight A330 MRTT, MMF1 and MMF2 are ready for acceptance, the third and fourth aircraft are currently under conversion at the Airbus Defense facilities in Getafe, Madrid and the fifth aircraft, currently a “green aircraft”, was flown from Toulouse to Getafe last week.

The Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), an Airbus A330 aircraft, is used by NATO nations to provide air-to-air refueling (AAR). The MRTT Capability (MRTT-C) is a High Visibility Project establishing a multinational owned and operated fleet of MRTT aircraft. The MMF now consists of six nations who will jointly operate a fleet of eight A-330 MRTT aircraft under NATO and NSPA’s Multinational MRTT Fleet Support Partnership ownership that allows nations to jointly acquire, sustain and maintain the fleet.

The initiative’s aim was to optimize existing and planned assets and develop a European Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF). In 2016, Luxembourg and the Netherlands formally launched the project. Since then Germany and Norway joined in 2017, followed by Belgium in 2018 and the Czech Republic in 2019. The six European Allies are now awaiting the delivery of the aircraft. The MRTT-C fleet currently consists of eight Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft, scheduled for delivery between 2020 and 2023. There is an option for three additional aircraft.

The A330 MRTT is the most effective aircraft tanker based on its unmatched fuel capacity that allows it to offload more fuel at any given distance than any competitor. More fuel on-board means more flexibility, more range and longer time on station. Its enormous fuel capacity allows the A330 MRTT to act as a force multiplier, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of fast jets operations.

Refueling capabilities of the A330 MRTT have been validated in testing operations with fighter and larger receiver aircraft and were bolstered by Airbus’ 2018 agreement with Lockheed Martin to jointly explore opportunities to meet the growing demand for aerial refueling for U.S. defense customers – with the A330 MRTT at its heart.

The A330 MRTT can carry up to 111 tons of fuel; this is the highest capacity of all tanker aircraft, even those with additional fuel tanks in the cargo deck. It has the capacity of offloading 50,000 kg of fuel to a broad range of receivers during a four-hour loitering mission at over 1,000 nm from its take-off point.

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