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France to order A330 MRTT

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 23, 2014
France will soon become the fifth customer for the A330 MRTT. (Dave Parer)
France will soon become the fifth customer for the A330 MRTT. (Dave Parer)

US-based DefenseNews is reporting France will soon place an order for 12 Airbus A330 MRTTs to replace its ageing fleet of 14 C-135FR tankers.

The report cites February 20 comments from French Chief of Staff General Denis Mercier made on the sidelines of the annual USAF Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. He said the latest French defence white paper had identified the need for the MRTT, and that the 12 aircraft will be ordered in two versions; the Airbus ‘baseline’ version with a centreline book and wingtip hose and drogue points, and a second tranche of aircraft fitted with a main deck cargo door and an enhanced communications suite. No details were given on the numbers breakdown between the two versions, but Gen Mercier did say the service had plans to upgrade all the aircraft to a common standard in the future.

If confirmed, France would be the fifth country to order the A330 MRTT after Australia, the UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Singapore is also believed to be close to placing an order for up to five A330s to replace its KC-135Rs.

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3 Comments

  • Glen

    says:

    No surprise really but still good news for Airbus . I do think the MRTT is a better choice than KC46 due to the fact its still a paper plane and who knows what kind of delays would could happen knowing Boeing there could be lots

  • rHHastings

    says:

    Converted A310’s might be better cost/performance tankers. Otherwise, considering France’s financial condition, would leasing A330MRTTs from Airtanker like the RAF does be possible? Maybe not as MRTTs are a French social program, so there is no bidding and the French Air Force should be paying full price.

  • Dane

    says:

    Imagine the public uproar if France decided to purchase an American aircraft over a locally produced one.

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