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Germany & Norway add five A330 MRTTs to future European tanker fleet

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - Germany and Norway
 
 
Germany & Norway add five A330 MRTTs to future European tanker fleet
 
Germany and Norway will officially join the future European fleet of multirole tanker transport aircraft. The German Defense Ministry Ursula von der Leyen and her Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Brussels to join the Netherlands-lead MRTT fleet.
     
An artists’ impression of an A330MRTT multirole tanker-transport aircraft from the future pooled European fleet refueling an F-35 fighter jet
(Credit: Airbus D&S)
     
The Netherlands and Luxemburg launched this initiative in July 2016 and a first order was made for two Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft, which are due to be delivered in 2020. Both countries today also signed the MoU, which contains the necessary amendments to last year's agreement.

Now that Germany and Norway joined the program, five extra A330 MRTT aircraft will be ordered. Participating countries will be alble to use a number of flying hours depending on their share of investment.

The seven aircraft will be delivered from 2020. Four will operate from Eindhoven Airbase, while the three others will be based in Germany.

The European tanker fleet could if more countries join the intiative. According to the Dutch Defense Ministry, Belgium intends to sign the MOU in early 2018.

Air-to-air tankers are vital in supporting NATO operations when other aircraft are on long-range missions. NATO’s air campaigns in Kosovo and Libya highlighted the need to increase European capabilities for inflight refuelling. The procurement programme is another example of the close cooperation between NATO and the European Union.