Press Release from the Ministry of the Armed Forces
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued July 15, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
France took delivery of its third Phoenix air tanker on July 10. It is advancing the pace of its MRTT program, and will now receive its first 12 MRTT tanker aircraft by 2023, two years earlier than initially planned. It also has ordered another three for later delivery. (FR AF photo)
PARIS --- The French Ministry of the Armed Forces has received its third Phoenix A330 four months in advance.

On July 10, 2020, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) received its third A330 Phoenix Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) refueling aircraft at Air Base 125 in Istres, four months ahead of schedule.

The program, provided for in the 2019-2025 Military Planning Law (LPM) was accelerated to allow the delivery of the first 12 MRTTs, two of which in advance of the deadline.

The order for three additional A330 aircraft was announced as part of the aerospace support plan following the Covid-19 crisis.

The Phoenix is an Airbus A330 airliner converted to meet a range of military missions, including support of the air force nuclear deterrent; contribution to the permanent security posture; projection of forces and emergency medical evacuation.

Thanks to its versatility, the Phoenix replaces two separate aircraft fleets on all of their missions: in-flight refueling (C135-FR and KC135R) and long-range strategic personnel and freight transport (A310 and A340).

Like the other two Phoenix already received, this aircraft will remain available for medical evacuation, as already implemented during Operation Resilience in the context of the fight against Covid-19.

Planned by the military programming law (LPM) 2019-2025, deliveries of the first 12 MRTTs have been accelerated by two years. The final aircraft will be delivered in 2023 instead of 2025.

As part of the aerospace support plan following the Covid-19 epidemic, the order for three additional A330 aircraft was also announced, in order to replace the army's strategic transport aircraft A310 and A340. These three additional A330s will be converted after 2025, increasing their total number to 15 Phoenix MRTTs.

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