LONDON --- More countries are showing interest in joining the Netherlands-led Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) as the organization gears up for the delivery of its first aircraft next year.
The Czech Republic could be next to sign up to the program, which already has the backing of Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway, who are together establishing an eight-aircraft unit of Airbus A330 tankers to be based in the Netherlands and Germany, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Col. Jurgen van der Biezen told Aerospace Daily.
Negotiations for the Eastern European country to sign the memorandum of understanding are due to get underway in the coming days. The Czech Republic is likely to buy flying hours on the fleet. Other nations have taken a similar approach—Norway has signed up to use the fleet for 100 hr. a year, while Luxembourg has signed up for 200 hr.
“This is a strategic capability that is in high demand,” van der Biezen said. “We have got a lot of recognition in Europe and NATO for this program.”
European nations have been working to try and boost their aerial refueling capacity after they were criticized for being forced to rely on U.S. tankers to carry out missions over Libya during the air war in 2011. (end of excerpt)
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