The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the A330 MMF aircraft to the prime contractor AIRBUS DS in Spain, on Sept. 17.
The STC was granted for the design changes involved in the conversion of an Airbus A330-200 series wide-body twin-engine jet airliner to the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aerial refueling tanker aircraft configured for the European Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) program. The STC is a very important step in the certification process for the MMF.
With the joining of the Czech Republic last month, the MMF program has six participants, the others being Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway. 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. It is supported by NATO and the European Union.
The participants are now awaiting the delivery of eight Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft ordered for the MMF program. 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 (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement, OCCAR). Following the acquisition phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet.
All participating MMF nations are now hoping together with MMF OCCAR Program Division and AIRBUS DS to take the next step, the Technical Certificate from the Spanish National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA).
In July, the first MMF Aircraft converted by Airbus DS in Getafe (Madrid) emerged from the paint facility in Manchester, having been painted in the final colour scheme requested by the MMF Nations.
The first aircraft will be utilised for both ground and aircrew training of the Multinational MRTT Unit (MMU) personnel, and then delivered by the OCCAR MMF Programme Division to the MMU based in Eindhoven on 2nd May 2020. The second aircraft is expected to be delivered in June 2020.
While the A330 MMF aircraft will be predominantly used for air-to-air refueling (AAR), they can also be used for the transport of people, cargo and for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).