The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) shared an initial image of the first of two Airbus CC-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) sporting its operational white, red and blue livery ahead of its planned delivery to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) this summer.
Images of the first CC-330 – which is currently registered as 9K-APC (code ‘002’) and will become serial 330002 in RCAF service – were shared across the Canadian DND’s social media channels on May 31, as the aircraft was preparing to fly from EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in France to Switzerland to likely undergo further conversion and modification work before it is delivered to Canada later this year. The aircraft has been painted in the colours sported by the RCAF’s VIP transport fleet and is complete with ‘Gouvernement du Canada/Government of Canada’ titles on both sides of the fuselage.
Based on the A330-243MRTT but designated the CC-330 in Canadian military service, the platform will ultimately replace the RCAF’s ageing fleet of CC-150 Polaris tanker-transports, which are based on the Airbus A310 and entered operational service in 1993. In total, five CC-150s were delivered to Canada (one configured for VIP operations and the remaining four for cargo/passenger transport), but two examples were converted to an MRTT configuration in 2005 and were subsequently redesignated CC-150Ts.
Canada is now actively working to acquire a new fleet of MRTTs to replace its ageing CC-150 fleet under the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) programme. Like the Polaris, these aircraft will be tasked with performing air-to-air refuelling; cargo/passenger airlift; medical evacuation and VIP transport operations. The STTC programme requirements call for Canada to acquire six aircraft in total. The first two of these were ordered for US$102m in July 2022.
The two aircraft were both built in 2015 and were formerly operated by Kuwait Airways. The first aircraft – which is believed to have not yet received its RCAF livery – is currently registered as 9K-APD but will become serial 330001 ‘001’ when it enters operational service. According to the Canadian DND, these two initial CC-330s will retain the same commercial cabin configuration that was ordered by Kuwait Airways to help expedite their delivery, at least for an interim period. While neither of these two initial aircraft will be delivered with traditional VIP quarters for the Canadian Prime Minister – as the retrofit process could take up to two years – plans remain for one of the CC-330s to gain this suite in the future. Canada has yet to place an order for the remaining four aircraft.