Netherlands, Luxembourg agree joint A330 MRTT buy

Netherlands, Luxembourg agree joint A330 MRTT buy 30 July, 2016

A deal to equip NATO with a fleet of A330 MRTT air-to-air refuelling aircraft has been signed by Airbus and OCCAR, the European organization that manages cooperative weapons programs.

The aircraft will be NATO property, and will be stationed at Dutch Eindhoven Air Base for pooling and sharing. Belgium, Germany, Norway and Poland intend to join the agreement at a later date. MRTT aircraft can also be used for carrying out medical evacuations.


The European Defence Agency and OCCAR are closely involved in the purchase of the aircraft, on behalf on the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. Luxembourg and the Netherlands will have exclusive user rights. Costs and personnel will be allocated on the basis of the number of flying hours that each country needs. The expected life span of the fleet is 30 years.  The Netherlands, the lead nation for the programme, values its acquisition at between €250 million ($277 million) and €1 billion, depending on the number of additional participants. Airbus says the addition of Belgium, Germany, Norway and Poland could eventually increase the size of the NATO-assigned Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) to eight aircraft.

There is also potential for collaboration with France and the UK for training, instruction and maintenance. France is set to receive its first A330 aircraft in 2018. The UK already has A330 MRTTs in service. Deliveries of the lead A330s for the Netherlands and Luxembourg will occur during 2020. It will also replace the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s current two McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 tankers.

Issue 86