The French Air Force is planning to procure five to seven Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft (MRTTs), Air Force chief commander general Jean-Paul Palomeros has revealed.

Aviation International News has reported Palomeros as saying that the contract for an initial five to seven MRTTs will be signed in 2013, followed by quick deliveries.

Earlier French procurement plans for new tankers to replace its aging fleet of KC-135s were unsuccessful due to budgetary constraints.

Under the Anglo-French defence agreement, it was suggested that the air force use the spare capacity on the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fleet of 14 A330 MRTTs.

The air force will acquire a total of 14 aircraft including a second batch to replace existing A340 and A310 VIP and transport aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Telemos unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed by France and Britain will not enter service until 2020, Palomeros confirmed.

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