The Czech Republic joined a multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport Capability (MRTT-C) effort to acquire and operate new tanker transport aircraft, on Oct. 24.
This initiative was launched by the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 2016 and aims to boost the ability of European Allies to refuel aircraft in mid-air.
The multinational fleet arrangement is a concrete step towards reducing the overall European shortage in air-to-air refueling and the over-reliance on U.S. capabilities. The initiative has been supported by NATO and the European Union.
The participants – Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway – are now awaiting the delivery of eight Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. The first two aircraft are expected to be delivered in May and June 2020, respectively. While the aircraft will be predominantly used for air-to-air refueling, they can also be used for the transport of people, cargo and for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).
The aircraft are to be owned by NATO and procured by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) through the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). Following the acquisition phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet.
“I am pleased to see our two organizations come together in this way and hope to see more initiatives like this one in the future,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana.