NATO multinational tanker unit receives first A330 MRTT

Delivery first A330 MRTT Eindhoven
NATO multinational tanker unit receives first A330 MRTT.

In the Netherlands, the two McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 air-air-refueling aircraft are nearing the wind of their operational life. One of the two KDC-10s was retired at the end of 2019 and the second KDC-10 will be retired at the end of 2020 or early 2021.

These tanker aircraft will be replaced by the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

An international consortium Multinational MRTT Unit (MMU) will receive eight A330 MRTT aircraft, of which five will be based at Eindhoven AB (ICAO: EHEH) in the Netherlands as Main Operating Base and the remaining three aircraft will be based at Cologne Bonn Airport (ICAO: EDDK).

These aircraft will become part of the NATO Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF).

The MMU unit consists of the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway and the Czech republic; where every country will pay for and get a number of flying hours.

The A330 MRTT aircraft will be Multirole aircraft, besides the main role as tanker, these aircraft can be used in the passenger and cargo transport role. Or in the MEDEVAC role and if all eight aircraft will be delivered at least one A330 will be available in the MEDEVAC role for emergency 24/7

The A330 MRTT aircraft are able to refuel all NATO aircraft with a fixed boom for the F-15s, F-16s, F-35s; and two hose systems for refueling the Mirages, Rafales, Gripens and Eurfighters. This will make the A330 more flexible than the KDC-10 with their boom only.

On Eindhoven AirBase, the European Air Transport Command (EATC) fulfills a coordinating role in allocation of NATO resources regarding transport and air-refueling.

On Monday 20200629, the first A330 MRTT aircraft (with Dutch registration T-055) was officially delivered by Airbus and accepted by the MMU.

One day later on Tuesday 20200630 this first A330 MRTT (T-055) was flown from Getafe airbase in Spain to Eindhoven airbase in the Netherlands. And after landing it received a traditional water-shower by the Eindhoven Fire Department.


Photos and text by Joris van Boven & Alex van Noye

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