Saudi Arabia Air Force orders four additional A330 MRTT aircraft


Airbus has announced the sale of an additional four of its A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for use by the Royal Saudi Arabia Air Force (RSAF).

In a statement published on July 10, 2024, the Defence and Space division of the European manufacturer said that the first of the four aircraft is scheduled to begin the MRTT conversion process at the beginning of 2026 with an entry-into-service with the RASF likely to take place in 2027. The aircraft’s primary role will be air-to-air refueling missions, along with other general transport assignments, as RASF demands require.  

To enable the inflight refueling capabilities, each of the new A330 MRTT aircraft will be configured with hose and drogue pods, a boom system to be able to refuel other aircraft while airborne, and also a refueling receptacle, which allows the A330 MRTT itself to be refueled from other tankers.

In addition to the four new aircraft, the contract agreed between the parties includes a logistics support package from Airbus with spare parts, training services, and service support for the four new aircraft.


“This new order demonstrates the high level of customer satisfaction with the A330 MRTT”, said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Air Power at Airbus Defence and Space. “This is the third contract signed by Saudi Arabia for the A330 MRTT, making the RSAF one of the largest MRTT operators in the world,” he added.

As an additional part of the contract signed between the parties, in January 2024, Airbus signed an Industrial Participation (IP) agreement with GAMI (General Authority for Military Industries) for the development and growth of the industrial ecosystem in the region in support of Vision 2030, a Saudi-government program that aims to diversify the country’s economy.

This agreement includes the transfer of technology and know-how of the RSAF A330 MRTT to local companies. SAAMS, the joint venture created between SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) and Airbus, will be the main vehicle for the industrial localization of this process.


More about the A330 MRTT

Based on the A330-200 passenger aircraft, according to Airbus, the A330 MRTT has a maximum take-off weight of 233,000kg (514,000 lbs) and is capable of carrying a payload of up to 45,000kg (99,000 lbs). The aircraft can be deployed for mid-air refueling, transport and troop-carrying missions, and other support tasks such as medevac operations.

In the transport role, the aircraft can carry standard LD1 to LD3 to LD6 containers in its underfloor cargo hold, as well as the standard 463-L NATO military pallets. Additionally, commercial containers and pallets as well as various military equipment and other large items are loaded through the main deck cargo door. In the troop-carrying role, up to 300 personnel can be carried in the main deck passenger cabin.

According to the manufacturer, the A330 MRTT has so far achieved a 90% market share outside the USA with 82 orders received from 15 countries in Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania.

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