NATO receives first A330 MRTT

Airbus has delivered its first of eight Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker/Transport (MRTT) aircraft to NATO for use as part of its Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF).

The aircraft was handed over during a ceremony at Airbus’ facility in Getafe, Spain, and marks a major milestone in the MMF programme. The initiative was launched in 2012 and has been funded by six NATO member nations, comprising Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway.

Following the ceremony, the first aircraft – serial T-055 (c/n 1911, line number MRTT055) – was flown to Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands, which will be the main operating base for the fleet. NATO’s MMF fleet will also operate from a forward operating base in Cologne, Germany.

Airbus A330-243MRTT [Airbus]
NATO's first Airbus A330 MRTT takes flight. Airbus

Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “The NATO MFF programme perfectly represents the future of defence cooperation and shows the true success of the pooling and sharing concept. As a trusted partner for the armed forces, Airbus is extremely proud to see its A330 MRTT at the forefront and ready to secure decisive capabilities and interoperability for NATO partner nations.”

When in operational service, the eight MMF aircraft will be tasked with conducting air-to-air refuelling, passenger/cargo transport and medical evacuation (medevac) missions.

Peter Dohmen, general manager of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), said: “This unique state-of-the-art capability will enable our participating nations to perform a wide range of operations in multiple domains. We thank the nations for their continued trust in [the] NSPA as the system manager and wish them success in their future missions.”

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) is managing the acquisition phase of the MMF programme and is providing the first two years of initial in-service support as a contract executing agent on behalf of the NSPA. Following this period, the NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle maintenance of the A330 MRTT fleet.