Airbus Defence & Space (DS) recently received a firm order for five Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transports from Europe’s organisation for the management of cooperative armament programmes (OCCAR) on behalf of NATO Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) and funded by Germany and Norway.
In a signing ceremony on 25 September 2017, the current Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) contract was amended to include both Germany and Norway as participants to the MMF project along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Arturo Alfonso-Meiriño, OCCAR Director, Bernhard Brenner, Airbus DS Executive Vice President Marketing & Sales and Didier Plantecoste, Airbus DS Head of Tanker Programmes and Derivatives officially signed the amendment at OCCAR-EA offices in Bonn, Germany.
The order follows the announcement on 29 June of a Memorandum of Understanding under which the two nations would join Netherlands and Luxembourg in the European/NATO MMF programme.
This amendment exercises a contract option to significantly increase the scope of the project from the two A330 MRTT aircraft initially ordered to seven aircraft in total, including also options for up to four additional aircraft (potential increase to 11 aircraft in total). The contract amendment signifies an important evolution of the MMF Programme as a key capability for NATO and European Air Forces, demonstrates the increasing confidence of European nations in the cooperative solution achieved by the European Union and NATO and recognises the A330 MRTT product. Further nations are expected to join the MMF in the future and to exercise the available contract options.
The programme is funded by the four nations who will have the exclusive right to operate these NATO–owned aircraft in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation flights.
The first two aircraft have already been ordered to be delivered from Airbus DS’ tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid and all seven are expected to be handed over between 2020 and 2022.
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.
"This new order further demonstrates the A330 MRTT’s position as the world’s premier tanker/transport aircraft," Airbus DS Head of Military Aircraft Fernando Alonso, said. "But it also firmly establishes the MMF as one of Europe’s most important collaborative programmes and a model for the future European defence projects which are expected to be launched in the coming years.”