On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the A330 Phoenix was declared operational for the nuclear deterrence mission. It is now an integral part of the strategic air force system.
After a year of experimentation, the military air expertise center validated the first nuclear operational capability (PCO NUC) of the A330 Phoenix, the first copy of which was delivered on 2 October 2018 to the Air Force.
This means that it is now able to carry out the nuclear deterrence mission from Istres Air Base 125 (BA 125) and integrates in-theater and intra-theater air refueling capabilities as well as strategic transport.
A multirole aircraft, the A330 Phoenix will replace the Boeing C-135 of flight refueling group 2/91 "Brittany," the Airbus A310 and A340 of the transport squadron 3/60 "Esterel," whose retirement has already started.
This new aircraft will ensure responsiveness, increased range and endurance to support the various missions of strategic air forces. By 2023, the Phoenix fleet will be able to deploy 20 Rafale to the Antipodes in 48 hours.