The European Defence Agency has announced the maiden flight of what will ultimately be the first aircraft to join Europe's future Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF).
The European Defence Agency (EDA) has announced the maiden flight of the first A330-200 that will subsequently be modified to the multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) configuration and will become part of the future Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF).
The MMF fleet, as currently planned, will include seven A330 MRTTs shared by Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. Germany and Norway joined the projet — initially launched by the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 2012 — in June, and the number of aircraft on order was officially raised from two aircraft to seven in September, with options for a further four.
The programme is funded by the four participants in the MMF project who will have the exclusive right to use these NATO-owned aircraft, which will operate in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for inflight refuelling, the transport of passengers (including VIPs) and cargo as well as for medical evacuation flights.
They will be operated by a multinational unit from the Main Operating Base in Eindhoven in the Netherlands and a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Cologne, Germany.
The delivery of the seven A330 MRTT aircraft currently on contract from Airbus Defence and Space’s tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid is expected between 2020 and 2022.