French AF A330 MRTT progresses
The first of nine A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transports ordered by the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) for the French Armée de l’Air made its maiden flight from Airbus Defence and Space’s Getafé, Spain facility. The aircraft, which will be known in French service as Phénix is the second new-standard A330 MRTT to fly. The aircraft was converted at Getafé from a standard A330 assembled in Toulouse. The Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered Phénix fleet will be equipped with a combination of the Airbus Aerial Refuelling Boom System and underwing Cobham hose-and-drogue refueling pods. While operating as a tanker, the aircraft can carry freight, 272 passengers or be configured for medical evacuation. Delivery of the first aircraft to BA125 at Istres-Le Tubé is due in October 2018, the second in 2019 with the remainder being delivered at the rate of one or two a year. The type will replace the Armée de l’Air’s fleet of 11 C-135FRs and three KC-135RGs as well as the three A310-304s and two A340-212s of ET3/60.