The French Air Force has taken delivery of the first of additional three A330-200 aircraft it ordered from Airbus just three months ago.
The arrival of the first unit will be followed by a second one in mid-December. They are being delivered so quickly as the contract from late August 2020 included two used and one new aircraft. The contract also brought the number of MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft on order for the French Air Force to 15.
All three units, known as Phénix in French service, will undergo their modification to the MRTT configuration at a later date.
France received its first MRTT in October 2018, while the remainder will be delivered by the end of 2023 under an accelerated timescale requested by France.
In French service, the A330 MRTT will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and equipped with a combination of a refuelling boom system and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. The aircraft can be configured in a variety of layouts carrying up to 272 passengers as well as medevac arrangements including the French MORPHEE intensive care module carrying up to ten patients as well as 88 passengers.
The aircraft ordered in August this year will allow the French Air Force to retire the aging A340 and A310 fleets. The first two airplanes that will be delivered this year will be based at Roissy, where they will take over from the two A340s.