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Airbus signs French A330 tanker upgrade deals worth $1.7 billion

23rd October 2023 - 15:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The A330 MRTT can perform air-to-air refuelling (AAR) missions without the need for any additional tanks. (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus will transform the French Air Force's A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) fleet into a robust high-bandwidth communication relay, starting deliveries in 2028, the European aerospace giant has revealed.

Airbus has signed two contracts valued at €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) to provide capability enhancements and in-service support for the French Air Force’s A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRRT) fleet.

The company said it struck the deals with the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and Directorate of Aeronautic Maintenance (DMAe).

‘We are honoured to contribute to one of France's most strategic capabilities,’ said Jean-Brice Dumont, head of military air systems at Airbus Defence and Space.

Under the programme, Airbus will repurpose the French A330 MRTT into a high-bandwidth communication relay node, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity in adverse conditions, including jammed environments and extreme weather conditions.

The first of 15 French A330 MRTTs with the enhanced capabilities will be expected to be delivered to the country's air force by 2028, Airbus said, adding that the second contract would encompass the in-service support for France's existing fleet of 12 A330 MRTTs known as ‘Phenix’.

The 111t basic fuel capacity of the A330-200 airliner – from which the A330 is derived – enables the A330 MRTT to perform air-to-air refuelling (AAR) missions without the need for any additional tanks. The aircraft is offered with a choice of AAR systems, including the Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), a pair of underwing hose and drogue pods and/or a fuselage refuelling unit. The aircraft is also known as KC-30 or Voyager.

The Shephard News Team


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