Germany has signed a deal with the special mission division of MRO provider Lufthansa Technik (LHT) for the acquisition and conversion of an Airbus A321 for its air force.
Berlin values the agreement, signed on 5 January, at €90 million ($96 million), which also includes spare parts and training.
Conversion work is due to take place at LHT’s Hamburg facility and will initially be performed to civilian certification standards. Subsequently it will seek military airworthiness approval for any further modifications, such as the addition of a defensive aids suite.
The converted airliner is scheduled to enter service in 2018, says the defence ministry, and will be based alongside its other VIP aircraft at Cologne-Wahn air base.
Germany currently operates two ACJ319s, a pair of A340 widebodies, and four Bombardier Global 5000 business jets.
It has not detailed the layout for the conversion, but refers to the A321’s ability to “transport 70 passengers”.