The United Arab Emirates has confirmed its order for Airbus A330 multi-role tanker-transports, says EADS. The European company was named the preferred source for a potential three-aircraft acquisition early in 2007.

At that time, the UAE armed forces signed a memorandum of understanding for three A330 MRTTs for delivery from 2011, but EADS's announcement of the order confirmation does not stipulate the number of aircraft or delivery dates.

EADS says the A330 MRTTs will be equipped with both wing-mounted hose-and-drogue pods and a centreline refuelling boom. The UAE operates both probe-equipped Dassault Mirage 2000-9s and receptable-equipped Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60s.

A330-200 MRTT
                                                                                                     © EADS

The UAE is the third of four countries that have selected the A330 MRTT to sign a contract, following Australia (five aircraft) and Saudi Arabia (three). The UK is still negotiating a contract for contract for 14 A330 MRTTs under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft private finance initiative.

As the KC-30, the A330 MRTT is being offered by Northrop Grumman for the US Air Force's 179-aircraft KC-X replacement tanker contract. Boeing is offering the KC-767. A decision is expected this week.