The ownership of the aircraft was transferred from Airbus Defence and Space to OCCAR on behalf of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), who manages the fleet for the MMF nations.
“The partnership with Airbus is a great example of how strategic dialogue and cooperation with industry are essential for NATO’s defence capability planning, development and delivery. The MMF programme is also an excellent example of how NSPA supports our Allies with key defence capabilities, from the acquisition throughout the entire life cycle of the system.” said Stacy Cummings, NSPA General Manager.
The delivery of the seventh aircraft represents the final major delivery milestone under OCCAR management, as the Cooperation Agreement between OCCAR and NSPA ends on 31 December 2022. “I would like to thank OCCAR for the professionalism demonstrated during the last eight years of cooperation on this important project. Your dedication during the acquisition phase has been essential to the success of the project”, Ms Cummings added, addressing OCCAR representatives during the Transfer of Titles ceremony.
The seventh aircraft is the last delivery of the first acquisition tranche; the next two aircrafts are expected to be delivered by the end of 2024. The Multinational MRTT Fleet will soon reach Initial Operational Capability, with a fleet of seven aircraft, ready to provide its six participating nations with strategic transport, air-to-air refuelling and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.
Initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2012 and managed by the NSPA, the Multinational MRTT Fleet comprises Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic, who have the exclusive rights to operate the NATO–owned aircraft in a pooling and sharing arrangement. The MMF stands as a prime example of effective cooperation between NATO and the European Union when delivering critical capabilities to their members. To date, the programme consists of contracted nine aircraft, but it is expected to grow in the future.