First French Air Force A330 MRTT flies

The maiden flight of A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for France’s Armée de L’air (Air Force). (Airbus)
France’s Armée de L’air (Air Force) first A330 MRTT on its maiden flight. (Airbus)

The first Airbus Defence and Space A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for France’s Armée de L’air (Air Force) made its maiden flight on September 7 from the company’s Getafe conversion centre near Madrid in Spain.

The aircraft, to be named Phénix in French service, is the first of nine plus three options on order by the French Direction générale de l’armement (Director General Armaments – DGA), and the second new standard A330 MRTT which features structural modifications, and aerodynamic improvements.

The aircraft performed a three hour 25 minute flight, and Airbus reports it performed as expected. France’s MRTTs will be configured with Airbus’ Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), two underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, seating for up to 272 passengers, and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

The A330 MRTT order book now stands at 51 plus three options. Of these, five KC-30As have been delivered to Australia, 14 A330 MRTT Voyagers to the UK, three MRTTs to the UAE, and six to Saudi Arabia. Outstanding orders include the nine French aircraft, six MRTTs for Singapore, four for South Korea, and two for NATO to be based at Geilenkirchen in the Netherlands.

In addition, Australia has two former Qantas A330-200s currently undergoing conversion to KC-30A configuration at Getafe, with deliveries of these aircraft expected in 2018 and 2019.

The maiden flight of A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for France’s Armée de L’air (Air Force). (Airbus)
Airbus says the aircraft is the the second new standard A330 MRTT to fly. (Airbus)

 

Comments

  1. Bill says

    I believe the first of the ex QF birds (-EBH) has arrived in Australia recently, I saw pictures of it on a spotters page arriving to Amberley still wearing it’s Airbus test registration

  2. Corey says

    Would be nice if your Government and RAAF would buy more tankers. The UK, France etc have more tankers than us, they’re smaller countries as well so why the hell do we have such a small MRTT fleet? @ Allen I agree the RAAF should look into a A350-900 ULR MRTT due to it’s range and fuel capacity which is equal to that or greater than the KC-10s. Throw in a couple of auxiliary fuel tanks if you wish and there would be the worlds largest aerial tanker.

  3. Philip says

    Bill,
    Are those exQF 330s owned by the RAAF now? I read somewhere that they were originally leased by QANTAS from a finance company …?

  4. Bill says

    Philip,

    The two frames were returned to the lessor by Qantas, then purchased by the Government before being returned to Airbus for the conversion work to be undertaken.

  5. Allan says

    Corey, Why do you feel the need to suggest the A350 as a replacement tanker. The seven (possibly nine) KC-30s we have are less than a decade old and are doing one hell of a job. With a service life of 20 -30 years the idea of a replacement is laughable. Give it another decade or so and then see what aircraft could feasibly replace the KC30. In the meantime be appreciative of the assets we have and the crews (air and ground) working hard to achieve their mission.

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