Airbus Defence & Space has been awarded a contract to supply the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a further two A330 multi-role tanker transports (MRTTs).

Announced on the opening day of the Dubai air show, during the UAE defence ministry’s daily contracts briefing, the deal is valued at almost AED2.5 billion ($680 million).


Source: AirTeamImages

The UAE will grown its fleet of A330 tankers to five aircraft, under new follow-on contract

In addition to supplying the new aircraft, the deal also covers “upgrading our systems” on three in-service examples, a defence ministry official says. Airbus says this work will take the aircraft to the MRTT’s “latest enhanced version”.

Deliveries of the new-build tankers will begin in 2024, the airframer says.

Two years ago at the show, the UAE had announced its intention to potentially double the strength of its current MRTT fleet.

Based on the A330-200 widebody airliner, the MRTT has been in UAE air force service since 2013. Its current examples are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engines.

One of its refuelling boom-equipped aircraft is on display at the show, and took part in an opening flypast on 14 November.

The follow-on contract award represents the second MRTT deal for Airbus within days. On 12 November, Madrid finalised a deal to modify three ex-Iberia A330s to the military standard for the Spanish air force.