Airbus Defence and Space has received a firm order from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) for a further three A330 MRTT A330 MRTT Phénix Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, bringing its total procurement to 12. The addition of the extra Phénix platforms, announced by Airbus on 13 December, fuflils the French Air Force’s (Armée de l’Air: AdlA) total requirement to replace its current Boeing KC-135R/C-135FR tankers and Airbus A340/A310 passenger transports.
The aircraft, known as Phénix in French service, constitute the third and final tranche of the multi-year contract for 12 A330 MRTTs signed by the French Ministry of Defence in 2014. The first Phénix was handed over to the AdlA at Airbase 125 at Istres-Le Tubé in September, with the remainder to be delivered by the end of 2023 under an accelerated timescale requested by France. On 20 February 2014, French Chief of Staff identified that France would acquire 12 A330 MRTTs. These will consist of two batches, initially the standard configuration with a boom and wing refuelling pods and later with a cargo door and SATCOM.
In French service the A330 MRTT will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and equipped with a combination of the Airbus Refuelling Boom System and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. The aircraft can be configured in a variety of layouts carrying up to 272 passengers as well as medevac arrangements including the French MORPHEE intensive care module carrying up to ten patients as well as 88 passengers. Set to replace the AdlA’s Boeing KC-135R and C-135FR tankers, as well as the Airbus A340 and A310 passenger transports, the Phénix is equipped with a combination of the Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods.
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), United Arab Emirates Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a version of the A330 MRTT proposed for the United States Air Force. The combat-proven A330 MRTT has been ordered by 12 nations which have now placed firm orders for 60 aircraft, of which 34 have been delivered.