French Air Force Orders Eight More A330 MRTTs

Airbus Defence and Space has gained an order for eight additional A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft from France. The manufacturer announced the contract from France’s defence procurement agency, the DGA, on December 15.

An initial multi-year contract with France’s Ministry of Defence for eventual purchase of a total of 12 A330 MRTTs had been announced on November 24, 2014. Following that initial deal, a firm order for the first aircraft was subsequently signed in June 2015.

With the new contract, firm orders are now in place for nine of the 12 aircraft. The remaining three are expected to be confirmed in 2018. Deliveries of all 12 aircraft are to be completed before 2025.

The first A330 MRTT will be delivered to France in 2018, the second in 2019 and the remainder at a rate of one or two per year. In French Air Force service the type will be known as the Phénix (Phoenix) and will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. It will be equipped with the Airbus Refuelling Boom System and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods.

In addition to its tanking role, it will be possible to configure the type to carry up to 271 passengers. In a medevac layout, it will include the French MORPHEE intensive care module carrying up to ten patients as well as 88 passengers. Alan Warnes