The Nato multinational multi-role tanker transporter (MRTT) aircraft fleet has successfully achieved initial operational capability (IOC) and is now ready for a full range of missions.

Managed by the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the A-330 tanker aircraft fleet is based at Main Operating Base in Eindhoven and the Forward Operating Base in Cologne, Germany.

The new milestone was marked by a ceremony held at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands on 23 March.

It was attended by Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and European Defence Agency (EDA) chief executive Jiří Šedivý, along with the defence ministers and representatives from the six MRTT project participant nations.

The nations include Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands.

According to NSPA, during the latest IOC event, the officials from all the six member nations also signed a memorandum of understanding for adding a tenth aircraft to the MRTT fleet.

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The aircraft is now eligible to undertake all the types of missions, such as air-to-air refuelling, strategic transport, aeromedical evacuation and air transport. It will allow the MRTT fleet to fulfil their individual national and Nato requirements.

Stoltenberg said: “This fleet has already proven its value and it is the backbone of Nato airpower. In 2022 alone, this fleet flew more than 500 missions, refuelling hundreds of fighter jets that keep allied airspace safe. I would like to thank NSPA, EDA and OCCAR for working together to develop this state-of-the-art fleet.”

So far, the multinational MRTT fleet (MMF) unit has received seven aircraft. The sixth and seventh A330 aircraft were delivered to MMF unit in August last year.

The eighth and ninth aircraft are scheduled for delivery next year and the tenth and last aircraft is expected to be handed over by the end of 2026.