Canada picks Airbus for multirole tanker transport requirement
Canadian defence minister Anita Anand revealed on 14 July that the Department of National Defence (DND) on 14 July has finalised a contract to buy and convert a pair of Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft into multirole tanker transport (MRTT) platforms, as an initial step in the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) programme for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
A $102 million contract to buy the two A330-200s was awarded to International Airfinance Corporation. After their delivery in Q4 2023, they may be placed into early service in passenger/cargo roles before being converted to the MRTT role.
Airbus competed against Boeing (with the KC-46A Pegasus) to meet the six-aircraft STTC requirement.
The two A330-200s ‘represent an important first step in eventually replacing the capability currently provided by the CC-150 Polaris fleet’, Anand announced in a statement.
Since 1992, the RCAF has operated a fleet of four CC-150s (the Canadian designation for the Airbus A310 multirole tanker aircraft). Besides air-to-air refuelling, the Polaris has been used for medevac, cargo airlift and VIP transport.
Similarly, as just one of the initiatives in the Canadian ‘Strong, Secure, Engaged’ defence policy, STTC is intended to deliver the capability to airlift ‘large numbers’ of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their equipment within Canada (including the Arctic) and abroad to meet NORAD strategic air defence and NATO alliance commitments.
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