The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a formal order with Airbus for the procurement of three A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft.

Under the agreement, the handover of the first transport configuration aircraft will take place after its conversion in 2024.

According to Airbus, delivery of the first fully converted aircraft is expected in 2023, with the final unit’s delivery scheduled for 2025.

Airbus noted that the latest order covers related support such as spares, ground support equipment, training and in-service support for the contract’s lifetime.

The aircraft is acquired from Iberia.

It will be converted into military tanker transport at the defence company’s Spanish headquarters in Getafe.

The MRTT aircraft will be equipped with an advanced hose and drogue refuelling system, as well as a medical evacuation kit.

Spanish Air Force 45 Wing, based in Torrejón Air Base in Madrid, Spain, will operate the A330 MRTT fleet.

Airbus Military Aircraft executive vice-president Jean-Brice Dumont said: “With the addition of A330 MRTT to its fleet, the Spanish Air Force acquires a key and proven new capability, that will enhance and support overseas operations, as well as medevac missions, on which the aircraft played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis worldwide.”

The A330 MRTT is a new generation, combat-proven aircraft manufactured by Airbus. It is derived from 111t basic fuel capacity A330-200 airliner.

It can also be used as a dedicated transport aircraft that can accommodate up to 300 troops or a payload of approximately 45t.

Furthermore, the MRTT aircraft can easily be converted to carry light and intensive care stations for medical evacuation purposes.

The A330 MRTT has so far achieved more than 250,000 flight hours.

To date, Airbus has made 51 A330 MRTT deliveries to 13 customers.