Multinational MRTT Fleet Grows to Nine Aircraft After Luxembourg Increased Contribution to Flying Hours
(Source: NATO Support and Procurement Agency; issued Sept. 22, 2020)
An Airbus 330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft of the Multinational MRTT Fleet. Thanks to Luxembourg having multiplied its participation sixfold, a ninth MRTT will be added to the multinational tanker pool. (NSPA photo)
LUXEMBOURG --- The NATO Support and Procurement (NSPA) will order an additional aircraft for the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF), further to Luxembourg's decision to increase its participation in the programme from 200 to 1,200 flight hours.
The new aircraft will bring the MMF fleet to nine aircraft, providing the six participating nations with a enhanced availability to cover their requirement for air- to-air refuelling, strategic transport and medical evacuation.
This ninth aircraft is part of the three additional options originally included in the contract. The order will be placed by the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) to Airbus Defence and Space, on behalf of NSPA.
"This is the result of the trust and commitment that Luxembourg has placed in the MMF programme since the very beginning of the project. We are very grateful for this decision as it will offer even more operational flexibility to our partner nations," said Jan der Kinderen, NSPA MMF System Manager.
Two aircraft have already been delivered to the Operational Unit (MMU) and are now performing training missions. A third one will follow between the end of October and early November. The rest of the fleet will be delivered by the end of 2024.
In 2012, the European Defence Agency (EDA) started to address the long-standing European shortfall in the air-to-air refuelling capacity. Since then, this initiative has grown into a mature programme managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), on behalf of the nations.
The Netherlands and Luxembourg initially launched the programme in July 2016, with the first as the lead nation of the project. Germany and Norway joined in 2017, Belgium followed in early 2018 and Czech Republic lastly joined the MMF programme in October 2019.
The MMF aircraft will be operated by the Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Unit (MMU) comprising of military personnel from the participating countries. The unit is based in two permanent operating bases, the Main Operating Base in Eindhoven and the Forward Operating Base in Cologne-Wahn (Germany). Among the eight MMF aircraft, five will be based in Eindhoven, and three in Cologne.
NATO Support & Procurement Agency Orders Additional Airbus A330 MRTT
(Source: Airbus Defence and Space; issued Sept. 28, 2020)
GETAFE, Spain --- Airbus has received a firm order for an Airbus A330 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport from OCCAR, Europe’s organisation for the management of cooperative armament programmes.
The order, which OCCAR has placed on behalf of NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA), follows the decision from Luxembourg to maximize its participation into the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) programme with a significant increase from 200 to 1,200 the number of flight hours contracted. The aircraft is part of the three additional options originally included in the contract and will increase the MMF fleet to nine aircraft.
This new order comes after the successful delivery of the first two aircraft, with training and operational activities already in place. The additional aircraft will provide greater availability of the MMF fleet, enabling other NATO nations to cover their needs in air-to-air refuelling, strategic transport and medical evacuation.
The MMF programme is funded by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Czech Republic who have the exclusive right to operate the NATO–owned aircraft in a pooling arrangement, a prime example of European operational defence collaboration. The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation operations.
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.
The A330 MRTT combines the advanced technology of a new generation tanker with the operational experience recorded during more than 200,000 FH in service. The A330 MRTT is interoperable with receivers worldwide and delivers true multi-role capabilities as proven during the recent MEDEVAC and strategic transport missions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2019, it generated revenues of € 70 billion and employed a workforce of around 135,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. 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.