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Spanish Air Force signs up for three converted A330 tankers

Spanish Air Force A330 MRTT
Photo: Airbus

The Spanish defense ministry has signed a contract with Airbus for the acquisition of three A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT).

The aircraft, acquired from commercial airliner Iberia, will be converted into military tanker transports at Airbus’ Spanish headquarters in Getafe, Spain.

Under the agreement, the handover of the first aircraft in transport configuration is scheduled in the coming days, when its conversion into an MRTT will start. The handover of the first fully converted aircraft is scheduled in 2023 and the third and final unit in 2025.

The contract covers associated support such as spares, ground support equipment, training and in-service support until the end of the contract.

The tankers will be equipped with a hose and drogue refueling system and a specific medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) kit. The A330 MRTT fleet will be operated by the Spanish Air Force’s 45 Wing, based in Torrejón Air Base (Madrid).

‘With the addition of A330 MRTT to its fleet, the Spanish Air Force acquires a key and proven new capability, that will enhance and support overseas operations, as well as medevac missions, on which the aircraft played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis worldwide,’ said Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice president military aircraft at Airbus.

The A330 MRTT has a fuel capacity of 111 tons and can also be used as a dedicated transport aircraft thanks to its wide-body fuselage. It is capable of carrying up to 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tons/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate light and intensive care stations for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).

Airbus says it has delivered 51 airframes to 13 customers, with the fleet achieving over 250,000 flight hours.