Showing posts with label A330 MRTT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A330 MRTT. Show all posts

23 October, 2023

Airbus signs € 1.2 billion in contracts for Capability Enhancement and In-Service Support of the French A330 MRTT fleet

Airbus Defence and Space has signed two contracts valued at € 1.2 billion in total with France’s Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) and Direction de la Maintenance Aéronautique (DMAé) for the Capability Enhancement and the In-Service Support of the French A330 MRTTs (Multi Role Tanker Transport) fleet.

The first step for the Multi Role Tanker Transport of tomorrow

10 years of In-service support, plus 2 optional years

“We thank the French Ministry of Armed Forces for its continued trust in the Airbus A330 MRTT and we are honoured to contribute to one of France's most strategic capabilities through this programme,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. “With this new capability of the aircraft, we are preparing the future by transforming the MRTT into an in-flight communications node, as the first building block of the Multi Role Tanker Transport of tomorrow, embedded in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).”

Standard 2 contract: Stepping stone of the Multi Role Tanker Transport of the future

The Standard 2 contract provides for the capability extension of the French MRTTs, focused on connectivity as a key pillar and also self-protection capabilities. With the aim of being connected in all circumstances, including jammed environments and extreme weather conditions, the aircraft will be equipped with the MELISSA satcom station.

These new capabilities will convert the French A330 MRTT into a high bandwidth communication relay node, with command and control capabilities, and will build the stepping stone of the A330 MRTT’s integration into the future air combat cloud within the FCAS.

The first aircraft to have the Standard 2 will be A330 MRTT No. 15, whose conversion will be carried out at Airbus’ military facilities in Getafe. It is expected to be qualified for the French Air Force in 2028. Thereafter, the upgrade to Standard 2 of the remaining 14 French A330 MRTTs will take place at the Istres Air Base in France.

10 years of In-service support

The second contract covers the In-Service Support of the ‘Phénix’ fleet for 10 years, plus two optional years, at the Istres Air Base, southern France, home to the 31st Strategic Air Refuelling and Transport Wing. Airbus, as the prime contractor, together with its preferred partners in France, will be responsible for fleet modernisation, maintenance, logistics and technical support to ensure the aircraft's operational availability. The local Airbus team in France will be doubled to support these activities.

The support services introduced under these contracts guarantee a level of availability, reactivity and resilience compatible with the requirements of the French Air Force and the Strategic Air Forces. This includes support for aircraft deployed outside France.

Under the nickname of ‘Phénix’, the French Air and Space Force currently operates 12 A330 MRTTs, with more than 18,000 flight hours completed. France is the largest A330 MRTT customer with 15 A330 MRTT ordered.

With 79 orders from 15 countries, the A330 MRTT has a 90 percent market share outside the USA. and more than 270,000 flight hours.

13 October, 2023

Successful A330 MRTT flight test campaign for F-15 fighters automatic refuelling

Airbus and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) worked together to successfully complete the automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) flight test campaign with the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and F-15 fighter, ahead of its certification in the first half of 2024.

Over the course of three weeks in August, a RSAF A330 MRTT made more than 500 automated wet and dry contacts with the Air Force’s full fleet of receiver aircraft, including the F-15SG aircraft, a customised variant of the US-built F-15E Strike Eagle air-to-ground fighter jet.

“The A330 MRTT has made the future of air-to-air refuelling a reality as a result of the joint efforts of Airbus and the Republic of Air Force,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. “This new milestone will enable the RSAF to become the first Air Force in the world to have a boom automatic refuelling capability with all of its receivers, a capability that can be extended to refuelling receivers from other nations”.

The flight tests with F-15SG were conducted in Singapore, covering the whole operational AAR envelope in different weather conditions under the supervision of the Spanish certifying authority, called INTA (National Institute for Aerospace Technology).

Automatic air-to-air at night with F-15s, F-16s and MRTT

25 July, 2023

Canadian Government orders 4 Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft

The Canadian Government has awarded Airbus Defence and Space with a contract for four newly-built Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT) and for the conversion of five used A330-200s in a quest to strengthen Canada’s continental defence capabilities. The current contract has an order value of approximately CAD $3 billion or 2.1€ billion (excluding taxes).

Known as the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC), this new fleet of aircraft will replace the ageing CC-150 Polaris (A310 MRTT), operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The existing A310 fleet is being used to perform air-to-air refuelling operations, military and personnel and cargo airlift, medical evacuations, as well as strategic transport of Government of Canada officials.

“As the world’s most advanced multirole tanker aircraft, the A330 MRTT perfectly matches Canada’s needs to protect its sovereignty as well as to enhance operations both in the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) as well as in NATO,” said Mike Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space. “Canada achieves this enhancement of operations not only by improving interoperability with other allied A330 MRTT customer nations but also due to the aircraft’s technological primacy ahead of the global competition.”

The newly-built A330-200s will be assembled at the A330 aircraft Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France. Scheduled to enter into conversion at A330 MRTT facilities in Getafe, Spain, in mid-2025, the first MRTT will be delivered to the RCAF in 2027. 

Under the agreement, the A330 MRTTs will be equipped with both the hose and drogue and a boom as refuelling options, cybersecurity solutions and countermeasures. All of them could be installed with the also included Airbus Medical Evacuation kit solution, consisting of 2 Intensive Care Units and additional stretchers.

The contract covers a full suite of training services including the most advanced training devices such as the Full Flight Simulator to prepare and maintain crew readiness as part of the modernisation of the Canadian Armed Forces’ air operational training infrastructure.

Following an open procurement process, in April 2021, Airbus was selected as the only qualified supplier for the CC-150 tanker replacement. With 76 orders from 15 customers and able to carry up to 300 troops, the A330 MRTT accumulates 90 percent market share outside the U.S.A. and more than 270,000 flight hours. As a mature platform, the aircraft has been proven in combat in theatres of operations like the Middle East and the Eastern Flank in Europe, with interoperability, mission success and availability rates as highlights of its performance.

Airbus has been a leading industrial player in Canada’s aerospace sector for almost 40 years. The company employs over 4,000 people locally and sources approximately CAD $2 billion from Canadian companies.  

27 June, 2023

Air Defender 23 demonstrates transatlantic partnership

Airbus military aircraft are at the heart of Air Defender, the largest deployment exercise of air forces in NATO's history, under the lead of Germany.

The sheer numbers alone are impressive: 25 nations with 250 aircraft, and some 10,000 service members have come together in Germany to re-confirm their commitment to the transatlantic alliance. The Eurofighter, Tornado, A400M, and A330 MRTT, all Airbus Defence and Space platforms, are playing a crucial role in Air Defender, the largest deployment of NATO air forces in the alliance’s history, which takes place between 12 to 23 June, 2023. 

“As a staunch believer in a strong European pillar of NATO, I am very thankful for this signal of solidarity in challenging times. Air Defender not only demonstrates the strength of the transatlantic partnership, it also shows the interoperability of allied forces. Never has the importance of collaboration and interoperability been greater than today.”

Airbus Defence and Space CEO Mike Schoellhorn "Air forces of Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US have been training together in Air Defender. Under the command of the German Air Force, the goal of the exercise is to optimise and expand cooperation among participating nations, while demonstrating strength within the NATO alliance: to train the joint response capability of the 25 partner air forces in a crisis situation. The scenario is modelled on an Article 5 assistance scenario. 

 A total of 250 platforms, including 23 different aircraft types, are stationed in Germany and  US Air Forces in Europe locations, as well as at NATO bases such as Wunstorf (Lower Saxony), Schleswig/Jagel & Hohn (Schleswig-Holstein), Geilenkirchen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Spangdahlem (Rhineland-Palatinate), Lechfeld (Bavaria) and Neuburg (Bavaria). For the exercise, hundreds of these aircraft deployed from the United States, where they are assigned to units of the US Air National Guard.

29 March, 2023

NATO orders another Airbus A330 MRTT

NATO Support and Procurement Agency orders additional Airbus A330 MRTT

NATO orders an additional Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), increasing the MRTT Fleet to 10 aircraft. This announcement follows Belgium’s decision to increase its number of hours in the programme with an additional 1,100 flight hours per year. The Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) provides strategic transport, air-to-air refuelling and medical evacuation capabilities to its six participating nations: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Norway. These Nations signed the Memorandum of Understanding that enables them to share costs proportionally according to the national commitment of flight hours per year.

“Since the arrival of the first aircraft in 2020 and especially since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the MMF is protecting European sovereignty and showing its capabilities as a multirole tanker,” said Jean Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. “With this new order, NSPA has already acquired one out of four optional MRTTs requested beyond the nine aircraft contracted earlier, demonstrating the level of customer satisfaction.”

MMU already operates seven A330 MRTTs and reached Initial Operational Capability ceremony on March 23rd. Full Operational Capability is expected in mid-2024.

25 January, 2023

Wind River Supports Airbus in its Certification Milestone for Automatic Air-to-Air Refueling (A3R)

Wind River, a global leader in delivering software for mission-critical intelligent systems, today announced it has worked with Airbus to support the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R). The MRTT aircraft is the world’s first tanker to be certified for automatic air-to-air refuelling boom operations in daylight.

Airbus uses VxWorks 653 for the A330 MRTT air-to-air refuelling boom system (ARBS). This system is comprised of multiple ARINC 653-compliant applications running at multiple levels of safety-criticality and achieved DO-178C DAL A certification.

With this development, the Airbus A330 MRTT A3R capability has earned the distinction of being certified by the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), involving multiple ED-12C / DO-178C DAL A applications running simultaneously on multiple cores on a multicore processor.

“A3R is a significant milestone in the evolution of airborne refuelling systems. It is an honour to work with Airbus and play an important role in its latest A3R achievement,” said Avijit Sinha, chief product officer, Wind River. “The use of our industry-leading technology demonstrates continuing Wind River leadership in safety-critical real-time software solutions for mission-critical systems. Wind River is able to help customers successfully navigate the challenges and complexities around certification.”

“Airbus is the first worldwide company to certify airborne military equipment with an embedded multicore processor to the highest assurance level DAL-A covering CAST-32A requirements. With the support of Wind River, Airbus successfully navigated its multicore certification journey to achieve this impressive milestone. In addition to delivering its proven industry-leading technologies, Wind River was a trusted advisor to help identify milestones, and potential obstacles, and develop key metrics during the process to ensure that the system architecture was on the right track,” said Andrés Morán Valero, multicore certification team leader, Air Refueling Software group, Airbus.

The automated A3R system enables more efficient operation, reduces air refuelling operator (ARO) workload, reduces the inherent risk of this operation and optimizes the rate of air-to-air refuelling transfer. In A3R, advanced technologies can identify the receiving aircraft’s shape and its refuelling receptacle, then perform automated contact and fuel transfer while flying at a high altitude.

19 November, 2022

Royal Air Force completes world-first sustainable fuel military transporter flight....................

Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright

The Royal Air Force,
Airbus and other industry partners have carried out the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight using an in-service military aircraft. It is also the first 100% SAF flight of any aircraft type carried out in UK airspace.

An RAF Voyager – the military variant of the Airbus A330 commercial jetliner - took to the skies above RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, on Wednesday powered completely by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel on both engines, paving the way for a range of possibilities for the future of flying military aircraft.

The flight was a joint endeavour between the RAF, aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support agency, British aircraft leasing company AirTanker and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, with the fuel supplied by Air bp.

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “True to our purpose of 'pioneering aerospace', we have gladly supported the Royal Air Force on this landmark sustainable-fuel test flight. I commend our UK customer for this achievement which helps pave the way for a sustainable reduction of carbon emissions of our military aircraft fleets. Airbus engineers have made a significant contribution to this RAF mission by providing on-the-ground expertise in recent weeks and securing the necessary MoD military flight permits.”

The Royal Air Force, Airbus and other industry partners have carried out the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight using an in-service military aircraft. It is also the first 100% SAF flight of any aircraft type carried out in UK airspace.
Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright

Sustainable Aviation Fuel – which is made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, in this case used cooking oil – reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to the conventional fuel it replaces, lessens the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and improves operational resilience by reducing the necessity for fuel resupplying.

As different approaches will suit different platforms and environments, a range of alternative fuel options are being looked at to ensure the UK is at the forefront of this developing technology.

The 90-minute return flight from RAF Brize Norton, flown by a combined Airbus, RAF and Rolls-Royce flight-test crew, replicated an air-to-air refuelling sortie and was witnessed by senior RAF and industry representatives. The RAF said it demonstrated the potential for its future operational capability, ensuring the ability to contribute to UK defence wherever and whenever it was required.

Baroness Goldie UK Defence Minister said:  "The Royal Air Force has flown the UK’s first military air transport flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel on one of their operational Voyager aircraft. They should be rightly proud of this achievement; it is a breakthrough moment for the RAF and an exciting development for the MOD.

Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright

Through the RAF’s pioneering spirit, expertise and partnership with UK industry, British science and engineering is leading the way in improving operational resilience and developing future operating capability in a climate-changed world."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston,  Chief of the Air Staff, commented:   "Climate change is a transnational challenge that threatens our resilience, our security and our collective prosperity. That is why I have set the RAF the ambitious challenge of becoming the world’s first net-zero Air Force by 2040. The way we power our aircraft will be key to meeting that challenge and the RAF is already thinking about how we will operate beyond fossil fuels.

This exciting trial flight of a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton powered entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel is an important milestone on that journey, and marks another technological first for the RAF alongside our industry partners."

Baroness Vere, Aviation Minister at the Department for Transport, said "Our Jet Zero Strategy made clear that sustainable aviation fuels are key to greener flight for both military and civilian aviation.

This is a win for the planet and a testament to British ingenuity. We have launched the £165 million Advanced Fuels Fund to kickstart a homegrown SAF industry, as well as challenging the sector to deliver the first net zero transatlantic flight next year."

Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright
In addition to supporting the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the Armed Forces, the Royal Air Force Commander in Chief HM King Charles III has also supported an increase in its adoption in the private sector though the Sustainable Markets Initiative. The SMI is a network of global CEOs from across all industries, working together to accelerate a sustainable future in line with its mandate. Part of the SMI’s work is raising awareness of SAF amongst the business community and encourage greater SAF uptake in corporate travel in addition to increased purchase agreements to encourage demand from the public and private sectors.

20 July, 2022

Airbus A330 MRTT becomes the world’s first tanker certified for automatic air-to-air refuelling operations

Airbus A330 MRTT becomes the world’s first tanker certified for automatic air-to-air refuelling operations

Launch of “Auto’Mate” demonstrator to pioneer more advanced autonomous capabilities in the future

The Airbus A330 MRTT has become the world’s first tanker to be certified for automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) boom operations in daylight following a successful campaign in collaboration with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

Certified by the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), this capability is part of the new SMART MRTT developed by Airbus. The A3R system requires no additional equipment on the receiver aircraft and is intended to reduce air refuelling operator (ARO) workload, improve safety and optimise the rate of air-to-air refuelling (AAR) transfer in operational conditions to enable air superiority.

“The certification of the A3R capability is the result of a successful journey that started in 2018 with the world’s first automated contact with a boom system in a joint operation with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Since then, we’ve achieved more aeronautical “world firsts” thanks to the support of our customers, especially with the key participation of our partner the RSAF, a launch customer and the first operator to benefit from this game-changing capability. The A330 MRTT continues to increase its technological advantage with superior air refuelling capabilities,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space.

Through the collaboration between Airbus and the RSAF for the development of the SMART MRTT, an RSAF A330 MRTT took part in the development, flight test campaign and certification of the A3R. In addition, enhanced maintenance capabilities have been developed, allowing faster resolution of ground tasks, while providing the means for maximising the efficient use of spare parts.

The road for the evolution of the A330 MRTT does not stop here. Airbus, through its subsidiary Airbus UpNext, has launched Auto’Mate, a demonstrator that will develop, adapt, mature, integrate and evaluate technologies enabling Autonomous Assets Air-to-Air Refuelling (A4R) and Autonomous Formation Flight (AF2) operations. Auto’Mate will focus on automating the receiver aircraft’s tasks, which requires a set of new technologies that are the pillars of the UpNext Auto’Mate demonstrator. 

These technological bricks will be tested in flight during 2023 with a final end-to-end demonstration mid-2024, using in both cases an A310 as the Tanker Refuelling Flight Test Bed and DT-25 Target Drones as receiver aircraft. The set of technologies developed in the Airbus Auto’Mate demonstrator will enable a disruptive step forward in the autonomy level of current Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) operations, to reduce crew fatigue and training costs, improve safety and efficiency, and pioneer Unmanned Air-to-Air Refuelling operations (including Unmanned-to-Unmanned AAR operations), a highly demanded capability for future defence scenarios. Auto´Mate is the first UpNext demonstrator to be launched, developed and concluded in Spain.

14 November, 2021

Spanish Ministry of Defence signs order for three Airbus A330 MRTT

The Spanish Ministry of Defence has signed the formal order for the acquisition of three Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT).

Under the agreement, the handover of the first aircraft in transport configuration is scheduled in the coming days, followed by its conversion to MRTT in 2024. The handover of the first fully converted aircraft is scheduled in 2023 and the third and final unit in 2025.

The contract covers associated support such as spares, ground support equipment, training and in-service support until the end of the contract.

The aircraft, acquired from Iberia, will be converted into military tanker transport at Airbus’ Spanish headquarters in Getafe, Spain. It will be equipped with a state-of-the-art hose & drogue refuelling system and a specific Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) kit. The A330 MRTT fleet will be operated by the Spanish Air Force 45 Wing, based in Torrejón Air Base (Madrid).

‘With the addition of A330 MRTT to its fleet, the Spanish Air Force acquires a key and proven new capability, that will enhance and support overseas operations, as well as medevac missions, on which the aircraft played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis worldwide,’ said Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Military Aircraft at Airbus.

The A330 MRTT is the only next-generation strategic tanker and transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes / 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for additional fuel tanks.

Thanks to its wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a dedicated transport aircraft able to carry up to 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate light and intensive care stations for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).

With more than 250,000 flight hours achieved, the A330 MRTT counts 51 deliveries to 13 customers.

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United Arab Emirates orders two additional Airbus A330 MRTT

The United Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defence has formally ordered two additional Airbus A330 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft increasing the country’s MRTT fleet up to five aircraft.

With deliveries starting in 2024, this agreement will also cover the upgrade of the country’s current A330MRTT fleet to the latest enhanced version.

‘Since its entry into service in 2013 with the UAE Air Force, the A330 MRTT has delivered much more than initially expected, meeting our customer’s operational needs. This repeat order, added to the growing MRTT customer base, confirms the suitability of our platform as the world’s tanker of reference’, said Bernhard Brenner, Executive Vice President Marketing and Sales at Airbus Defence and Space.

The A330 MRTT combines the advanced technology of a new generation tanker with the operational experience established over more than 250,000 in-service flight hours. The A330 MRTT is interoperable with receivers worldwide and delivers true multi-role capabilities, proven most recently during the recent MEDEVAC and strategic transport missions during the COVID-19 crisis.

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21 May, 2021

Airbus A330 MRTT auto refuelling system completes development phase

In-flight refuelling operations are among the most demanding missions. Both the tanker and receiver pilots need to operate in close formation, flying aircraft with different flight envelopes and ranging speeds, in day-and-night and all weather conditions, and above the battlefield…. There are many factors that are unpredictable and could put the missions at risk. 

The Airbus A330MRTT has a solid track record providing safe operational services to its customer base and other allies like the USAF. The Airbus aircraft gained its reputation as a tanker after seeing action in the Middle East supporting coalition warfighters during Operation Shader and Okra against Daesh, with interoperability, mission success and availability rates as a highlight of its performance. 

But for Airbus’ engineers, the road to success does not end here.  They envisaged a new chapter where, under the name of SMART MRTT, the multirole tanker gained a new set of game-changing capabilities including enhanced maintenance solutions and the ability to carry out fully automated aerial refuelling operations.


01 April, 2021

Airbus qualified as bidder for Canada’s strategic tanker replacement

Airbus has been qualified by the Government of Canada as a bidder for the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project, a procurement process launched to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Airbus A310MRTT (CC-150 Polaris) multirole tanker fleet.

The invitation to qualify (ITQ), released at the beginning of 2021, has identified Airbus’ A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft as capable of meeting the project’s requirements which now moves to the next stage of the call for tender. A draft request for proposal (RFP) is expected in Q3 2021.

The STTC program looks to replace the RCAF CC-150 Polaris tanker fleet with a multirole aircraft capable of conducting a wide range of missions including NATO and NORAD operations, ranging from air-to-air refueling to strategic G overnment of Canada transport and aeromedical evacuation.

13 October, 2020

Airbus selected for Communications and Mission System upgrade on the Royal Australian Air Force MRTT fleet

Airbus has been selected by the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) to develop a Communications and Mission System modernization upgrade for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) fleet.

The scope of work, which will meet the Air Force interoperability needs under their new operational requirements, will mainly cover a retrofit package, which includes new and additional Communications Capabilities and Enhanced Mission Systems, bringing it up to the latest enhanced A330 MRTT standard.

Split across two contracts, Phase 1 will see Airbus carry out the design and systems development and integration ahead of the Critical Design Review maturity gate. Phase 2 will see Airbus install and deliver a prototype KC-30 aircraft (the name used by the RAAF to the A330 MRTT) for use in the certification and qualification process, ahead of finalizing and supplying the modification kits for entire fleet. Subsequent retrofit to the remainder of the fleet will be under customer responsibility.

29 September, 2020

NATO Support & Procurement Agency orders an additional Airbus A330 MRTT

Photo  Airbus

Airbus has received a firm order for an Airbus A330 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport from OCCAR, Europe’s organisation for the management of cooperative armament programmes.
The order, which OCCAR has placed on behalf of NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA), follows the decision from Luxembourg to maximize its participation into the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) programme with a significant increase from 200 to 1,200 the number of flight hours contracted. The aircraft is part of the three additional options originally included in the contract and will increase the MMF fleet to nine aircraft.
This new order comes after the successful delivery of the first two aircraft, with training and operational activities already in place. The additional aircraft will provide greater availability of the MMF fleet, enabling other NATO nations to cover their needs in air-to-air refuelling, strategic transport and medical evacuation.

21 July, 2020

AirTanker is the latest airline to join Airlines UK

AirTanker joins Airlines UK
Photo AirTanker
You might not be familiar with the name AirTanker, but you've almost certainly seen at least one of their aircraft flying high in the skies over the UK in recent weeks.  This British airline is perhaps best known for operating the RAF Voyager aircraft.

Since signing a 27-year contract with the MoD in 2008, AirTanker’s primary role has been to ensure the safe and effective operation of the RAF’s fleet of A330 MRTT Voyager aircraft, with responsibilities ranging from aircraft delivery and fleet management to crew training and a full maintenance capability.

As well as supporting the Voyager military operation, AirTanker is a civil airline and operates the South Atlantic Air Bridge, which provides a vital scheduled connection between the UK and the Falkland Islands. AirTanker has also continued to expand its commercial leasing business, operating a number of Airbus A330-200 aircraft on ad-hoc, damp and wet lease contracts on behalf of other carriers in the UK and Europe.

Photo RAF /Crown Copyright

01 July, 2020

Airbus has formally delivered the first of eight Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft ordered by the NATO Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF)

                                                   Airbus has formally delivered the first of eight Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft ordered by the NATO Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) after a ceremony held at the Airbus Getafe site in Spain. The official acceptance of this first aircraft marks a decisive milestone towards the entry into service of this multinational unit formed by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. 

The aircraft will take off tomorrow towards its Main Operating Base located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The MMF fleet will also operate from a second location, the Forward Operating Base in Cologne, Germany.

30 June, 2020

VIP RAF Voyager Returns to Operational Duties

Following the arrival of the RAF VIP Voyager to its base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, post the completion of its smart new paint scheme, the aircraft returned to its primary role supporting operational training today acting as a ‘petrol station in the sky’ offering Air-to-Air refuelling (AAR) to RAF Lightning and Typhoon fighters during Exercise CRIMSON OCEAN.
Newly painted RAF Voyager aircraft with Union Flag livery refuelling Typhoon and Lightning aircraft mid-air.
After several weeks of painstaking work, the Voyager was confirmed as being ready to undertake all operational roles including AAR and personnel transport alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. Taking off from RAF Brize Norton, the aircraft spent most of the day airborne to provide several refuelling stops for the fighters taking part in the joint RAF and Royal Navy exercise.

25 June, 2020

RAF Voyager aircraft used by The Royal Family and the Prime Minister get new paint job

Photo RAF
The RAF Voyager aircraft that is used by The Royal Family and the Prime Minister now has a bright new paint job.

The new livery, sporting a variation of the union flag on the tail, designed to better represent the UK when it flies overseas on official duties was completed by the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.

“Vespina” was now ready for its global role and will promote the UK around the world while transporting Ministers, senior members of the Royal Family and their delegations on trade, diplomatic and other missions.

After weeks of work, the Voyager returned to RAF Brize Norton where it will operate alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. Alongside its VIP Role, the aircraft remains certified for its original use, including Air-to-Air Refuelling and personnel transport. It can fly from and to almost any airport across the world that can take an Airbus A330, and its range allows it to reach much of the world without costly and time-consuming refuelling.

19 June, 2020

RAF Voyager aircraft used by the Royal Family and the Prime Minister for official business to be repainted....

An RAF Voyager aircraft - a modified Airbus A330 which is often used the Prime Minister, other senior ministers as well as members of the Royal Family for official engagements is going to get a shiny new paint job.

The government says the aircraft will get a new funky red white and blue livery based on the union flag to better represent the United Kingdom when flying overseas. 

The aircraft is currently in Cambridgeshire being made ready to get painted,  "The RAF Voyager used by the royal family and the PM is currently in Cambridgeshire for pre-planned repainting. This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding, which will be in line with many other leaders’ planes."  A spokesperson confirmed this week, as well as stating the jet would also continue to be used for other official RAF purposes.  

The cost of the new painting is expected to cost around £900,000, with staff at No 10 saying it represented "value for money" and would be a benefit to the economy as all the work was being carried out in the UK. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said, "we have always spent money on promoting the UK around the world" and the work on RAF Voyager was part of that effort.

The jet is one of 9 the RAF have under contract with Air Tanker as part of a core fleet of transport and refuelling aircraft,  with another 5 aircraft surge fleet that are operated commercially.  

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02 April, 2020

Airbus secures new face mask supplies to support Europe’s fight against COVID-19

Photo Airbus
Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom health systems in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts.

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew, returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks.

In recent days, Airbus had already organised flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

The picture shows the A330MRTT departing Airbus’ Getafe site on 26 March.

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