Airbus Defence and Space has today successfully completed the maiden flight of the first A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport for France. The aircraft, which will be known in French service as Phénix, is the first of nine ordered by the French Defence Procurement Agency DGA, plus another three expected to be confirmed. It is the second new standard A330 MRTT to fly, featuring structural modifications, aerodynamic improvements giving a fuel-burn reduction of up to 1%, upgraded avionics computers and enhanced military systems.
The aircraft was converted in Getafe from a standard A330 assembled in Toulouse. The crew reported that the aircraft performed in line with expectations during the 3h 25min flight.
The Phénix fleet will be equipped with a combination of the Airbus Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refueling pods, and can carry 272 passengers or be configured for medical evacuation. First delivery is due in 2018. Fifty-one A330 MRTTs have been ordered by eight nations of which 28 have been delivered.
The A330 MRTT is the only new-generation Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft fully certified, in operational service and combat proven now. The A330 MRTT uniquely offers military air transport as well as superior air-to-air refueling capabilities that have already been extensively proven in numerous real operations by current operators.
With 51 aircraft ordered by 8 major customers, including the Air Forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, France and Korea, plus the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the A330 MRTT is the preferred tanker/transport solution for current and future needs.
The A330 MRTT is the most capable Tanker/Transport, and it is the only solution offering true multi-role capabilities.