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A330 MRTTs for Netherlands, Luxembourg

29th July 2016 - 09:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Netherlands and Luxembourg governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of two Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft as part of a NATO pooling arrangement. A contract for the aircraft was signed with Airbus Defence and Space on 28 July.

The aircraft will be NATO property, and will be stationed at Eindhoven Air Base for pooling and sharing. Belgium, Germany, Norway and Poland intend to join the agreement at a later date.  

The acquisition aims to address the scarce tanker and transport capabilities of the European Union. In addition to refuelling aircraft and strategic transports, MRTT aircraft can also be used for carrying out medical evacuations.

The European Defence Agency and OCCAR are closely involved in the purchase of the aircraft, on behalf on the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. Luxembourg and the Netherlands will have exclusive user rights. In addition to the purchase, the MRTT project also covers maintenance and operational deployment. 

As the lead nation in this collaboration project, the Netherlands will be responsible for registering the aircraft and monitoring their airworthiness. 

Costs and personnel will be allocated on the basis of the number of flying hours that each country needs. The expected life span of the fleet is 30 years and the investment budget is between €250 million and €1 billion.

If Belgium, Germany, Norway and Poland decide to take part in the agreement, the MoU and Airbus contract will be expanded, and the number of aircraft acquired could rise to eight.

There is also potential for collaboration with France and the UK for training, instruction and maintenance. France is set to receive its first A330 aircraft in 2018. The UK already has A330 MRTTs in service. 

The two A330 MRTTs will be delivered from 2020. 

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