Multi Role Tanker Transport Capability
NATO has an aircraft pool of tanker and transport aircraft. 6 European partners make use of the Multi Role Tanker Transport Capability (MRTT). In four years’ time, the fleet will consist of 8 Airbus A330 aircraft.
Eindhoven Air Base will be the home base of 5 A330 MRTTs. The other 3 will be stationed at a forward operating base in Cologne, Germany. The last aircraft will be delivered in the summer of 2024.
The 8 aircraft are registered to the Netherlands, but are NATO property. They are financed by 6 participating countries that each have an annual allocation of flight hours:
- Netherlands (2,000 hours)
- Germany (5,500 hours)
- Belgium (1,000 hours)
- Luxembourg (200 hours)
- Norway (100 hours)
- Czech Republic (100 hours each)
The A330 is more than just a tanker aircraft
These tanker aircraft are primarily used for the air-to-air refuelling of other aircraft, but also for the transportation of people and cargo, and for medical evacuations.
The A330 can accommodate 267 passengers and 45 tons of cargo. Furthermore, the aircraft can be converted in a short period of time into a flying sick bay with 6 intensive care units and 16 stretchers to transport casualties out of war zones or mission areas. One of the 8 aircraft always remains available as a medical aircraft, so no delays are caused during the conversion of the aircraft.
The 6 participating countries bear responsibility for the acquisition, management, operations and support of the fleet. Together with France, the possibility of a cooperation agreement for training, maintenance, development and spare parts is being explored.