The A330 MRTT: A day in the life of Airbus’ “force multiplier” for military operators

A330 MRTT French Air Force

France has joined the list of nations utilising the 21st century benchmark for new generation tanker/transport aircraft

Mobility, deployment and strategic reach are three keywords describing the capabilities that Airbus-built A330 MRTTs (Multi-role Tanker Transports) bring every day to military services around the globe. 

With the French Air Force now receiving its first A330 MRTT, the number of countries flying this version of Airbus’ modern and versatile twin-engine A330 jetliner has increased to six – joining Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. 

The A330 MRTT’s capabilities are regularly demonstrated in air-to-air refuelling missions, with millions of pounds of fuel having been transferred from its underwing hose-and-drogue pods and centerline boom during operations performed in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Carrying 111 tonnes of fuel, the A330 MRTT has the highest capacity of all aerial tankers, able to offload 50,000 kg. of fuel while airborne to a broad range of receiver aircraft during a typical four-hour loitering mission at over 1,000 nautical miles from its takeoff point.


A day in the life of A330 MRTT


A day in the life of the A330 MRTT Read less Read more

A growing fleet of A330 MRTTs in service worldwide 

A330 MRTTs also play a vital airlift role – transporting troops and supplies, performing aeromedical evacuation (MedEvac) duties, as well delivering material during humanitarian flights and for disaster relief. The aircraft has a maximum payload of up to 45 tonnes, carrying passengers on the main deck and cargo in the lower deck. 

Another utilisation is the deployment of fighter aircraft over long distances. The A330 MRTT can accompany four fighter aircraft while carrying 50 personnel and 12 tonnes of freight (spare parts, equipment and luggage) in direct flights over 5,200 km. 

To date, A330 MRTTs have been ordered by 12 customers, with 31 aircraft currently in operation. The global fleet of Airbus Multi-role Tanker Transports have logged a total of more than 170k flight hours since the first aircraft was delivered in 2011. 

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French Air Force receives its first A330 MRTT


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