Madrid, Spain, 7 September 2017 — Airbus Defence and Space has today successfully completed the maiden flight of the first A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport for the French Air Force. The aircraft, which will be known in French service as “Phénix”, is the first of nine ordered by the French Defence Procurement Agency DGA, plus another three expected to be confirmed later once a date has been set for the retirement of the last and final of 14 Boeing KC/C-135R which form the whole French strategic tanker fleet based in Istres, France.
It is the second new standard A330 MRTT to fly, featuring structural modifications, aerodynamic improvements giving a fuel-burn reduction of up to 1%, upgraded avionics computers and enhanced military systems. The aircraft was converted in Getafe from a standard A330 assembled in Toulouse. The crew reported that the aircraft performed in line with expectations during the 3h 25min flight. The Phénix fleet will be equipped with a combination of the Airbus Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, and can carry 272 passengers or be configured for medical evacuation with the existing Morphée SANEVAC kits which allow for enhanced survival chances for wounded soldiers.
First delivery is due in 2018. A total of 51 A330 MRTTs have so far been ordered by eight nations of which 28 have been delivered.//