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Canada signs on for two A330-200 MRTTs for its strategic tanker transport project

MRTT refueling
Illustration. Airbus file photo of an MRTT aircraft

The Canadian defense ministry has finalized a contract for the purchase of the first two Airbus A330-200 aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) fleet.

Announcing the contract on July 13, Canadian defense minister Anita Anand said the purchase would renew the capability currently fulfilled by the CC-150 Polaris fleet.

The two A330s were manufactured in 2015 were bought through International AirFinance Corporation under a $102 million contract.

They will later be modified by Airbus Defence and Space into the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) configuration required to serve as multirole aircraft within the STTC fleet. They will play an integral role in providing air-to-air refueling, strategic airlift, aeromedical evacuations, and strategic government personnel transport, including transport of the Prime Minister, Governor General, and others, for decades to come. will be converted

Since 1992, the CC-150 Polaris aircraft and its crews have provided outstanding service to Canada. The Polaris is the aircraft that provides the majority of air-to-air refueling for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fighter fleet, allowing the RCAF to extend their range and operating time. The fleet also fulfills many other roles, including military personnel and cargo airlift; strategic Government of Canada personnel transport; and medical evacuations.

After nearly 30 years of outstanding service, the RCAF is looking to the future of this crucial capability, and with today’s announcement, we are moving forward to the next step of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project.

The STTC project, within its currently approved scope, will acquire sufficient aircraft to provide the RCAF with three continuous lines of tasking to deliver on Canada’s defence policy, to defend Canadians, to meet Canada’s NORAD and NATO commitments, and allow our Canadian Armed Forces to continue to contribute to peace and stability abroad through their operations.

The STTC aircraft will also be equipped to airlift large numbers of CAF personnel and their equipment in support of operations and training activities within Canada, including in Canada’s Arctic regions, and around the world, which will enhance the existing transport capacity provided by the CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules fleets, allowing for the more efficient movement of personnel and equipment.

As it currently stands, Canada plans to procure a total of six airframes for its Strategic Tanker Transport Capability fleet.

“The government of Canada is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment they need at the best value for money. We look forward to accepting these two aircraft as they represent an important first step in eventually replacing the capability currently provided by the CC150 Polaris fleet,” defense minister Anand said.