The French Air and Space Force's 3/60 ‘Estérel’ transport squadron accepted its first of three Airbus A330-243 strategic transports at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport on November 26.
The five-year-old second-hand aircraft, serial F-UJCS, sports the colours of the French Republic and was delivered to the unit by a crew from the nation’s Military Air Expertise Center (CEAM). A second example is scheduled to be delivered to the French Air and Space Force by the end of December, followed by the third in mid-2021.
The procurement of a single new-build A330-200 and two second-hand examples comes as part of the French government’s aerospace support plan, which was announced on June 9, 2020. It will enable the air arm to accelerate the withdrawal of its ageing fleets of two Airbus A310-300s and two A340-211s, with the latter being retired at the end of this year.
At a later date, these new A330s will be converted to an A330 Phénix Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)-standard configuration, bringing the service’s fleet up to 15 aircraft. France intends to replace several older fleets of strategic transport and tanker platforms with the A330.