The German Air Force has awarded Airbus a contract for the delivery of two A321-200NX passenger aircraft that will be modified for medical evacuation (MedEvac) missions.
The two aircraft will be operated by the Executive Transport Wing of the German defense ministry, which operates as part of the air force.
Airbus is set to deliver the first “base” aircraft in the second half of 2021, when it will start the militarization and modification process. The delivery of both aircraft is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.
The A321s will be capable of transporting between 136 and 163 passengers, six intensive care patients or up to twelve moderately ill or injured passengers. The defense ministry noted that the current COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for these capabilities.
The German Air Force already operates an A321, which it refers to as the “German Air Force One” on its official website. The aircraft has been in service since 2018 and mainly used for VIP transport. It too can be modified for MedEvac roles within hours, according to the defense ministry.
As the longest-fuselage member of Airbus’ single-aisle A320 Family, the A321 can seat anywhere from a typical 170 to 200 passengers in a standard two-class cabin to 220 persons in a more high-density layout. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 93.5 tons.