First MMF aircraft arrives in Eindhoven Main Operating Base
30 June 2020
Luxembourg - On 30 June 2020, the first Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) aircraft arrived at the Main Operating Base located in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The ferry flight was successfully completed from Getafe (Madrid), marking a significant milestone for the programme.
The MMF is managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) with the support of the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), under the ownership of NATO and operated by an international unit. The fleet will soon enter into service to provide its six participating nations (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and the Netherlands) with strategic tanker and transport capabilities.
The first aircraft recently completed its acceptance process, which lasted three weeks. On 29 June 2020, the aircraft titles were transferred from Airbus Defence and Space to OCCAR, who accepted the ownership of the system and all associated contractual deliverables on behalf of NSPA.
After the arrival of the first aircraft on 30 June 2020, NSPA handed over the aircraft to the Multinational MRTT Unit (MMU), who will operate the aircraft from the Main Operating Base in Eindhoven and the Forward Operating Base in Cologne-Wahn (Germany).
Colonel Jurgen van der Biezen, MMU Commander said: "We are happy to welcome our first MMF A330 MRTT aircraft at our Main Operating Base in Eindhoven. It is a pleasure to see this unique multinational cooperation reaching this important step in the continuous success story of the programme. I am very grateful for the support of the NSPA and OCCAR in the acquisition and management of our A330 MRTT fleet. I am really looking forward to start the first flight operations to support our participating nations with Air-to-Air Refuelling, Air Transport and strategic medical evacuation missions."
Mr Peter Dohmen, NSPA General Manager said: "The MMF programme is a prime example of excellent cooperation between nations, the EU and NATO and the strong collaboration between OCCAR and NSPA. The arrival of the first aircraft at its Main Operating Base in Eindhoven marks a significant milestone. We thank the nations for their trust and wish the MMU great success in their future missions, operating this state-of-the-art aircraft on behalf of our nations".
Based on a pooling and sharing concept, the six participating nations will have access to a total of eight Airbus A-330 MRTT aircraft (with an option to extend the contract up to 11 aircraft in the future) which can provide strategic transport (passengers and cargo), air-to-air refuelling and medical evacuation capabilities.
The second aircraft is scheduled to be delivered at the end of July.
From left to right: Dion Polman (EDA), Jan der Kinderen (NSPA), Philippe Bourlard (OCCAR) and Col Jurgen van der Biezen (MMU)
Back in 2012, the European Defence Agency (EDA) started to address the long-standing European shortfall in the air-to-air refuelling 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 one 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 of the participating countries. The unit is based at two permanent operating bases, Main Operating Base in Eindhoven and the Forward Operating Base in Cologne-Wahn (Germany). Among the eight MMF aircraft, five will be based in Eindhoven, and three in Cologne.