Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded a contract to supply A330 new generation multi-role tanker transport aircraft (MRTT) to the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF).

Under the contract, whose value remains undisclosed, the company will supply two A330 air-to-air refuelling aircraft to Qatar, making it the seventh operator of the type.

The contract forms part of Qatar’s $23bn re-equipment programme, which covers acquisition of three Boeing 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, 12 NH 90 transport and ten NFH 90 maritime helicopters, Australian Aviation reports.

Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, the A330 is a military variant of the civilian Airbus A330-200 airliner, and is designed to perform air-to-air refuelling without any additional fuel tanks, and cargo, troop transport and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions.

"The company will supply two A330 air-to-air refuelling aircraft to Qatar, making it the seventh operator of the type."

Capable of carrying 256 passengers, the aircraft can be fitted with the company’s aerial refuelling boom system (ARBS) to refuel receptacle-equipped aircraft, Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods for probe-equipped aircraft, and a Cobham 805E fuselage refuelling unit (FRU) for large probe-equipped aircraft.

A universal aerial refuelling receptacle system installation (UARRSI) may be integrated for self in-flight refuelling missions.

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A total of 34 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by to date by five customers, including Australia, Singapore, the UAE, the UK, and Saudi Arabia, which has also placed a repeat order.

India is in the final stages of contractual negotiations for six aircraft.

Image: A Royal Australian Air Force Airbus A330-200 MRTT aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Outisnn.

Defence Technology