The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has awarded a contract to Airbus Defence and Space to deliver three additional A330 new generation multi-role tanker transport aircraft (MRTT) to the French Air Force.
The firm order for these additional aircraft stems from the multi-year contract signed by Airbus with the French Ministry of Defence for 12 A330 MRTTs in 2014.
The latest order forms the third and final tranche of the multi-year contract. In December 2015, the DGA placed a firm order for the second tranche of eight aircraft.
As part of the contract, the first French A330 MRTT successfully conducted its maiden flight in September 2017 and was delivered this October.
The remaining aircraft are expected to be delivered by the end of 2023.
Known as Phénix in the French service, the A330 MRTT aircraft fleet will be fitted with a combination of the Airbus aerial refuelling boom system (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods.
Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, the aircraft will be able to carry 272 passengers. In the French service, it will be configured for different mission arrangements such as medical evacuation, including the French MORPHEE intensive care module to accommodate ten patients and 88 passengers.
The A330 MRTT is already combat-proven and has been ordered by 12 nations that have placed firm orders for 60 aircraft, which includes 34 that have been delivered so far.
Last month, the company announced that the Republic of Korea Air Force’s first A330 MRTT aircraft is slated to undergo evaluation tests before being accepted into service.