For the first time a PA-200 Tornado from German Air Force fueled up on Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport (MMF) Unit A330 MRTT Airplane. The newest NSPA multinational programme, the MMF stands out as a unique example of successful cooperation among NATO and EU Agencies and nations, enabling participating nations to be flexible and to rapidly respond to emergencies in multiple capability domains. The MMF, managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) with the strong support of the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), under the ownership of NATO and operated by an international unit, will provide its six participating nations (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and the Netherlands) with strategic tanker and transport capabilities.
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. A total of 12 nations have placed firm orders for approximately 60 aircraft, of which 46 had been delivered by 30 November 2020. A version of the A330 MRTT, the EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45, was proposed to the United States Air Force for its aerial tanker replacement program and selected, but the program was cancelled. As of 30 September 2021, a total of 61 A330 MRTT had been ordered from Airbus Military. 50 have been delivered, including five of nine ordered NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) aircraft delivered.
The Netherlands and Luxembourg initially launched the programme in July 2016, with The Netherlands as the lead nation for the project. Germany and Norway joined in 2017, Belgium followed in early 2018 and Czech Republic lastly joined the MMF programme in October 2019. Based on the participating nations requirements, nine Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft were procured by OCCAR, on behalf of NSPA. These state of the art aircraft are configured for a variety of missions, from air-to-air refueling (both boom and hose and drogue), to troop transport, VIP transport, cargo/freight transport and they can also be re-configured for aeromedical evacuation.
The 111 tonnes basic fuel capacity enables the aircraft to excel in air-to-air refueling missions without the need for any additional fuel tanks. Moreover it can provide, a maximum fuel flow rate of approximately 2,200 litres a minute, using a boom and a hose and drogue mechanism, can quickly fuel all of the aircraft in inventory with the MMF nations ( F-16, F-35, C-17, Eurofighters, Tornado and Gripen ) and most of the other aircraft used within NATO.To satisfy the mission assigned by the MMF participants, NSPA created the MMF System Management Office, with the objective of acquiring, managing and supporting the fleet of MRTT aircraft and related assets. The involvement of other Agencies was key to the success of the MMF initiative.