Multinational MRTT Fleet Gains Additional Aircraft

 In Industry, Acquisition, & Innovation, Air

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.


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