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As part of the French government’s 9 June plan to support the aeronautical industry – among those sectors of the economy hardest hit, arguably, by the pandemic – the DGA procurement authority ordered a further three Airbus A330 aircraft on 25 August, in a €200 million contract.

Destined eventually to be converted into A330 PHÉNIX Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) platforms, to supplement the 12 expected to be in service by 2023, the first two aircraft are to be delivered before year end, the third in 2022. This will facilitate retirement of the Air Force’s two A340 and two A310 tankers, simplifying logistics so that the entire MRTT fleet of 15 aircraft will be A330s by 2023.

This order provides concrete and immediate evidence of the government support for the sector. In total, orders to be placed by the DGA for the armed forces will amount to some €600 million for aircraft, helicopters and UAS, with an additional €250 million to be spent on helicopters for other government agencies, including the Gendarmerie Nationale.

France has brought forward an order for three A330 aircraft, to be converted to the PHÉNIX MRTT configuration at a later date, to meet the all-A330 fleet target of 15 aircraft by 2023. (Photo: DGA)

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