An Australian A330 MRTT, also known as KC-30.

France: nine Airbus 330 MRTT tankers ordered so far

The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) so far has officialy ordered nine of twelve desired Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft. Airbus on Tuesday 15 December reported an order for eight aircraft on top of an earlier order for one A330 MRTT. The remaining three are scheduled to be confirmed in 2018, permitting deliveries of the 12 aircraft before 2025.

A multi-year contract for 12 A330 MRTTs in several tranches was signed by the French Ministry of Defence in November 2014. The first A330 MRTT will be delivered to France in 2018, followed by the second in 2019, and the remainder at a rate of one or two per year. The aircraft replace aging KC-135 Stratotankers.

Airbus Refuelling System

Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines power the aircraft in French service. The tankers will be equipped with a combination a refueling boom system and underwing hose-and-drogue refueling pods. Cargo and passenger wise, the aircraft allow configuration to a variety of layouts carrying up to 271 passengers as well as medevac arrangements including intensive care modules carrying up to ten patients as well as 88 passengers.

A French Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker.
A French Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker that will be replaced by the new Airbusses.

The A330 MRTT has been ordered by seven nations which have now placed firm orders for 49 aircraft, of which 26 have been delivered. One of the future users is a European joint-effort by the Netherlands, Poland, Norway and lately also Germany.

More on UK Airbus MRTT operations is here.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An Australian A330 MRTT, also known as KC-30. (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)