Indonesian Air Force plans to acquire Airbus A330 MRTTs for air refueling


Indonesia has announced plans to acquire a minimum of two Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) to enhance its in-flight refueling capabilities. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) is looking to improve its operational flexibility with the new aircraft, as it prepares to integrate new combat planes, including 42 Rafales and 24 F-15EXs, into its fleet.

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Indonesia plans to acquire Airbus A330 MRTTs for air refueling 925 The A330 MRTT is capable of transferring up to 50 tons of fuel over a range of 2,000 km with a 4.5-hour on-station time. (Picture source: Wikimedia)


The decision was made public after a meeting between Indonesia's Deputy Defense Minister, Mr. Herindra, and Anand Stanley, the Airbus Director for the Indo-Pacific region, on September 5, 2023. According to a statement from the Indonesian Defense Ministry, the A330 MRTT will join other Airbus defense equipment already contracted by the government, such as the AS565 MBe Panther anti-submarine helicopters, H225M transport helicopters, and A400M cargo planes.

Although the ministry's statement seemed to suggest that a contract may already be in place, an Airbus spokesperson told Janes that they are "looking forward to finalizing the details" following Indonesia's announcement. The exact number of A330 MRTTs to be acquired was not specified, but Indonesian specialized media reports indicate that the country is likely to purchase two of these aircraft.

The A330 MRTT is capable of transferring up to 50 tons of fuel over a range of 2,000 km with a 4.5-hour on-station time. It can also carry 40 tons of cargo over a distance of 7,000 km and has the capacity to accommodate 272 passengers. The aircraft has recently been selected by Canada and Brazil, and South Korea is considering ordering two more.

The acquisition is noteworthy for Indonesia, which has the task of monitoring and protecting an area of 1.905 million square kilometers, including various archipelagos, some of which are subject to territorial claims by China. Currently, Indonesia's aerial refueling capabilities are limited to one KC-130B Hercules and soon, two A400M Atlas planes.