Airbus has delivered the first MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation)-capable A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft of the NATO Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) on Nov. 18.
This is the third MMF aircraft to be delivered but the first of the fleet to be converted into aeromedical evacuation configuration.
The Transfer of Title of the aircraft, MMF T-056, took place at the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) which ordered the aircraft on behalf of NATO. Upon completion of the acceptance process, the ownership of the aircraft was transferred (through OCCAR) from Airbus Defence and Space to the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), who manages the fleet on behalf of the MMF nations.
Following the delivery, the aircraft arrived at its Main Operating Base in Eindhoven, The Netherlands the next day.
The MMF MEDEVAC aircraft is an important link in the rescue chain for the medical evacuation of injured people over long distances. The MEDEVAC kit consists of up to six intensive care units (ICU), which are equipped according to the most modern standards of intensive care medicine. In addition to six intensive care patients, other 16 patients can be transported on stretchers.
The MMF MEDEVAC will be delivered to the MMF Forward Operating Base in Cologne by the end of 2020. The technical staff of the NATO Multinational MRTT Unit (MMU) in Cologne can convert the Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft to the MEDEVAC role within a short period.
The first and second aircraft were delivered in June and August 2020. The Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Unit (MMU) is now operating the aircraft for training purposes and will gradually deploy on operational tasks in the next months. The delivery of the fourth aircraft is planned for early next year. From that point on, a new A330 MRTT will be added to the fleet regularly, with the expected delivery of the last aircraft on order at the end of 2024.
The full fleet will consist of nine multi-role tanker transport aircraft able to provide strategic transport, air-to-air refueling (AAR) and MEDEVAC capabilities to its six participating nations: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Norway.
The aircraft are owned by NATO and managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) with the support of the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) on the acquisition phase.
In 2012, the European Defence Agency (EDA) started to address the long-standing European shortfall in the air-to-air refueling capacity. Since then, this initiative has grown into a mature programme managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), on behalf of the nations. The Netherlands and Luxembourg initially launched the programme in July 2016, with the first as the lead nation of the project. Germany and Norway joined in 2017, Belgium followed in early 2018 and Czech Republic lastly joined the MMF programme in October 2019.
The MMF aircraft will be operated by the Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Unit (MMU) comprising of military personnel from the participating countries. The unit is based in two permanent operating bases, the Main Operating Base in Eindhoven and the Forward Operating Base in Cologne-Wahn (Germany). Among the nine MMF aircraft, five will be based in Eindhoven, and four in Cologne.