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February 19, 2018

Belgium joins multinational effort to acquire Airbus MRTT aircraft

Belgium has joined the European multinational fleet arrangement to acquire a fleet of Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft.

Belgium has joined the European multinational fleet arrangement to acquire a fleet of Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft.

The other nations who are members of the allied effort include Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Supported by Nato and the European Union (EU), the arrangement seeks to deliver air-to-air refuelling capacity for its members.

Nato Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller said: “Increasing our ability to keep our planes flying – for longer periods and farther distances – has a direct bearing on our ability to defend our citizens and our territories.”

In July 2016, the aircraft acquisition project was launched through an order of two A330 MRTTs awarded to Airbus by Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

With Belgium joining the initiative, the multinational fleet is expected to grow to a total of eight MRTTs, which are slated to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.

“It can support the deployment of four fighter aircraft in addition to 50 personnel and 12t of freight in one direct flight over 5,200km.”

The multinational aircraft fleet will be operated from a main operating base in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and a forward operating base in Cologne, Germany.

The A330 MRTT aircraft is capable of being configured to carry out air-to-air refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation missions.

It can support the deployment of four fighter aircraft in addition to 50 personnel and 12t of freight in one direct flight over 5,200km.

The aircraft can also carry up to 111t of fuel, has a maximum payload capacity of up to 45t and can accommodate up to 300 passengers. It has a MedEvac cabin layout with 40 stretchers, 20 seats for medical staff, and 100 passengers.

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