• The Government of Canada has awarded Airbus a contract for four newly-built A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft.
  • The A330 MRTTs are expected to enhance Canada's air operational training infrastructure and strengthen its continental defense capabilities.
  • The A330 MRTT is known for its advanced technology and high fuel capacity, making it a popular choice for various countries worldwide.

The Government of Canada has selected Airbus to supply new A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft to replace its aging fleet of tanker airplanes. The contract covers a full suite of training services, including the most advanced training devices, such as a full flight simulator to prepare and maintain crew readiness as part of the modernization of the Canadian Armed Forces’ air operational training infrastructure.

Four new A330 MRTTs

Airbus has been awarded a contract by the Canadian government for four newly-built Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT) and for the conversion of five used A330-200s. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) currently uses the CC-150 Polaris (A310 MRTT) to perform air-to-air refueling operations, military and personnel and cargo airlift, medical evacuations, as well as strategic transport of Government of Canada officials.

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But the CC-150 Polaris fleet is getting old, and the RCAF needs a replacement. Following an open procurement process, in April 2021, Airbus was selected as the supplier for the CC-150 tanker replacement. Mike Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space, commented,

“As the world’s most advanced multirole tanker aircraft, the A330 MRTT perfectly matches Canada’s needs to protect its sovereignty as well as to enhance operations both in the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) as well as in NATO.

“Canada achieves this enhancement of operations not only by improving interoperability with other allied A330 MRTT customer nations but also due to the aircraft’s technological primacy ahead of the global competition.”

To be delivered by 2027

Airbus says that the newly-built A330-200s will be assembled at the A330 aircraft Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France. These will then enter into conversion at A330 MRTT facilities in Getafe, Spain, in mid-2025. The first MRTT will be delivered to the RCAF in 2027.

The Government of Canada orders 4 new Airbus A330 MRTTs (1)
Photo: Airbus

According to the agreement with Airbus, the A330 MRTTs will be equipped with both the hose and drogue and a boom as refueling options, cybersecurity solutions, and countermeasures. The current contract has an order value of approximately CAD $3 billion (USD 2.27 billion), excluding taxes.

About the Airbus A330 MRTT

Airbus Military delivered the very first A330 MRTT in 2011 to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and has 76 orders from 15 customers for the aircraft. The A330 MRTT can carry a maximum payload of up to 45 tonnes, including up to 300 passengers, combining the passenger cabin and the lower deck.

Royal International Air Tatoo 2023 - A330 MRTT Landing
Photo: Airbus

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The A330 MRTT can carry up to 111 tonnes of fuel in an aerial refueling mission, the highest capacity of any tanker aircraft. Airbus highlights its key feature of the center-line Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), which is fly-by-wire controlled and delivers a fast fuel flow rate.

Canada isn’t the only country that has ordered the A330 MRTT. Several countries across the globe are its customers, including Australia, France, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, among others.

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