Airbus tanker customers to get enhanced MRTT

Madrid
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Future customers for the A330 multirole tanker transport will receive their aircraft in an improved configuration – matching the commercial type’s new production configuration – from early next year, Airbus says.

Singapore’s first example of six on-order aircraft will be the first to be manufactured in an MRTT Enhanced standard, says Airbus Defence & Space head of military derivatives programmes Antonio Caramazana. Due for modification at the company’s Getafe site near Madrid in October 2015, this operational prototype will include aerodynamic and avionics advances, plus reduced fuel consumption and a new mission planning system.

“All the new customers will get this variant,” Caramazana says. New production deals with France, India and Qatar are in the final stages of negotiation, and the company is “expecting to get to contract in the coming months”. It also will later this month respond to a request for proposals from South Korea, he adds, with other potential prospects existing with the European Defence Agency and Spain.

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Airbus Defence & Space

Asked whether the tanker/transport could also later be offered with a potential new engine option, Caramazana says: “A Neo is under study [at] Airbus, and is for later on. For the future, we will see.”

The A330 MRTT is now in service with the air forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.