Belgium Becomes Fifth Nation to Join Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF)
(Source: OCCAR-EA; issued March 01, 2018)
From left to right: Mr. Didier Plantecoste, Head of Tanker Programmes & Derivatives; Mr. Bernhard Brenner, Executive V.P. Marketing & Sales; and Mr. Arturo Alfonso Meiriño, OCCAR-EA Director. (OCCAR photo)
Belgium has now joined the multinational effort to acquire a European fleet of Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) Aircraft, thus becoming the fifth nation to participate in this initiative, joining The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Norway.
OCCAR-EA, as Contract Executive Agent, signed Contract Amendment No. 5 with Airbus Defence & Space in order to accommodate the additional flying hours for the newest member of the MMF.
The number of contracted aircraft has now been increased to eight, with commonality in the configuration. The full fleet will be DIRCM equipped and will be able to perform all different roles of air-to-air refueling, medical evacuation, together with passenger and cargo transport. The first aircraft deliveries are scheduled for 2020, whilst the eighth MMF aircraft will be delivered in 2024.
Eindhoven is hosting the Main Operating Base, together with Cologne as the Forward Operating Base for the fleet. The initial In-Service Support will cover the first two years, starting from the delivery of the first MMF aircraft.
OCCAR-EA and NSPA are cooperating for the successful management of the MMF Programme, in which additional participating nations are welcomed and additional aircraft options are already foreseen in the current contract with Airbus Defence & Space.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: In a striking example of European bureaucracy overload, four separate international agencies (EDA, OCCAR, NSPA and MMF) were involved in Belgium’s purchase of a single Airbus tanker aircraft, which will be operated by the European MMF pool but supported by a NATO agency.
It would be difficult to imagine a more awkward structure, especially given that Europe in parallel already operates an air transport command (EATC) into which the MMF could have been merged.)
Belgium Participation Expands Multinational MRTT Fleet to Eight Aircraft
(Source: Airbus Defence and Space; issued March 01, 2018)
MADRID --- Airbus Defence and Space has received a firm order for an Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport from Europe’s organisation for the management of cooperative armament programmes – OCCAR – on behalf of NATO Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA).
The order follows the announcement on 14 February of Belgium’s official accession to the European/NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) programme, which already consists of Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and Germany.
An amendment to the original MMF contract adds the aircraft to the seven previously ordered for the MMF programme. The contract also includes three additional options to enable other nations to join the programme and provides for two years of initial support.
The programme is funded by the five nations who will have the exclusive right to operate these NATO–owned aircraft in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation flights.
Airbus Defence and Space will deliver the eight aircraft from its tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid between 2020 and 2024.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) initiated the MMF programme in 2012. OCCAR manages the MMF acquisition phase as Contract Executing Agent on behalf of NSPA. Following the acquisition phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet.
Head of Sales and Marketing Bernhard Brenner said: “The selection of the A330 MRTT for MMF, along with the earlier similar decisions by the United Kingdom and France, will ensure that Europe has the world’s most operationally capable tanker fleet for many years to come. We encourage other European nations to contribute to MMF in order to maximise the operating and financial advantages of a large fleet based on a common type.”
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2017 it generated revenues of €67 billion and employed a workforce of around 129,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.