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.