Spain signed a deal to purchase three A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT) from Airbus, the company announced on November 12, 2021.
According to the Airbus press release, the first of the aircraft is going to be handed over in the coming days. However, it is still in the transport configuration, and is going to be refurbished to full MRTT configuration by 2024.
In 2023, the company will deliver the first finished A330 MRTT, and the last aircraft of the batch is going to reach the Spanish Air Force by 2025.
All three aircraft are going to be purchased from Iberia, a Spanish airline that acquired them between 2016 and 2017.
As Airbus’ MRTT conversion centre is located in Getafe, the aircraft are likely going to stay in Spain up until the delivery to the Spanish Air Force.
When converted, the new aircraft will be stationed at the Torrejón Air Base near Madrid, and operated by the Spanish Air Force 45 Wing.
Currently the Spanish Air Force’s tanker fleet consists of four Airbus A400M and five Lockheed C130 Hercules transport aircraft that have been outfitted with aerial refueling equipment.
The A330 MRTT, which was introduced in 2011, can be outfitted with numerous aerial refueling systems, and can refuel up to three aircraft at once. In addition to that, it can carry up to 45,000 kilograms (99,000 pounds) of cargo or up to 291 passengers depending on configuration, and is outfitted with special medical evacuation equipment. It also carries various countermeasures to protect it against anti-air missiles.
The aircraft is operated by numerous countries, including Australia, United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia.