Airbus announced on September 28 that NATO had ordered an additional A330 Multi-Role Tanker/Transport (MRTT) after Luxembourg announced it will maximise its participation in the Multinational MRTT Unit (MMF) initiative.
The firm order for a ninth aircraft was placed by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) on behalf of NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). It comes after Luxembourg decided that it would increase the number of required flight hours it contracts from 200 to 1,200. Due to this increased requirement, the NSPA exercised the first of three additional options included in the original contract to acquire an additional A330 MRTT.
Jan der Kinderen, the MMF system manager at the NSPA, said: “This is the result of the trust and commitment that Luxembourg has placed in the MMF programme since the very beginning of the project. We are very grateful for this decision as it will offer even more operational flexibility to our partner nations.”
The European Defence Agency (EDA) initiated the MMF programme in 2012. The initiative grants partner nations an exclusive right to operate NATO-owned MRTTs in a pooling arrangement. Six nations are currently funding the programme, comprising Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway.
The first A330 MRTT was delivered to the MMF’s main operating hub at Eindhoven air base in the Netherlands on June 30, 2020 and was followed by a second on August 10. Each aircraft will be configured to provide air-to-air refuelling, passenger/cargo transport and medical evacuation operations.