The Ministry of the Armed Forces Receives Second Phénix MRTT Three Months Early
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry, issued July 07, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The French Air Force’s second A330 tanker / transport aircraft at Istres air base. Visible in the background are two of the aircraft it will replace: the upgraded C-135F Stratotanker (R) and the Airbus A310 transport. (FR AF photo)
On 2 July 2019, the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) received the second A330-MRTT Phénix multi-role tanker aircraft (MultiRole Tanker Transport) at Air Base 125 in Istres. This aircraft was delivered to the Air Force three months early and with a first MedEvac (Medical Evacuation) capability, so as to reach full operational capability in the fall.

It will allow medicalized transport of a dozen very seriously injured patients, or the medical transport of 40 lightly-injured patients requiring less medical assistance.

The MRTT Phénix is based on the airframe of the Airbus A330 airliner, militarized to allow it to meet its specific mission requirements: support of the air component of the nuclear deterrent; contribution to the permanent security posture; projection of forces and medicalized transport in case of emergency medical evacuation.

Thanks to its versatility, the MRTT Phoenix replaces two distinct fleets for this entire range of missions: the current in-flight refueling fleet of C135-FR and KC135R, and the strategic personnel and freight transport fleet of A310 and A340.

The military programming law 2019-2025 provides for the acceleration of the modernization of the equipment of the forces, and in particular of the tanker aircraft fleet. It will bring forward to 2023, two years earlier than planned, the delivery of the first twelve aircraft, and creating the conditions allowing a subsequent increase of the fleet to fifteen aircraft in following years.

Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes this early delivery: "The Phoenix is an essential aircraft for the French forces, and for and our deterrence. It will replace aircraft, some of which are 60 years old, and represents a real revolution for the Air Force. Its versatility makes it a technological marvel, and it is an undeniable industrial success and an example of what a great European company - Airbus - knows how to build."

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The Air Force Receives Second A330 Phoenix
(Source: French Air Force, issued July 05, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
On 03 July 2019, the second A330 Phénix multi-role tanker transport aircraft arrived at Air Base 125 at Istres, in south-eastern France. Delivered after the completion of the delivery operations carried out by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA), this second aircraft will join the 31st Strategic Airlift and Transport Wing and the technical team in charge of its operational commissioning.

After a technical and operational evaluation campaign to develop the procedures for using the aircraft in operations, the first two Airbus A330 Phénix aircraft will be declared operational by the end of October 2019.

Thanks to its versatility, the Phoenix A330 will replace two separate fleets: the current in-flight refueling fleet comprising C135-FR and KC135R tankers, some of which will approach 60 years of age when they retire from service, and the strategic transport fleet, for personnel and freight, comprising A310s and A340s.

Mainly intended for the nuclear deterrence mission, the Phoenix, thanks to its multi-role capability, will also support missions of protection of the territory (through its contribution to the permanent security posture), the projection of forces and power as well as medical transport in case of massive medical evacuation.

The A330 Phénix is based on an Airbus A330 airframe adapted for military requirements.

The 2019-2025 Military Program Law calls for the procurement of 15 Airbus A330 Phénix tanker/transport aircraft for the French Air Force.

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