Today, (18 June 2019) six NATO Allies took a critical step towards making the future Multi Role Tanker and Transport Capability (MRTT-C) more affordable. A Letter of Intent on cooperation around the MRTT-C was signed between France and the five current MRTT-C participants: Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. This will help make maintenance and repair operations for the MRTT-C more affordable. The Letter of Intent sets out areas of cooperation including exchanges of expertise and joint training.
The MRTT-C initiative will provide its participants with strategic airlift, air-to-air refueling and medical evacuation capabilities, enabling them to conduct more flexible air operations. Participants in the initiative will operate Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft starting in 2020. A total of eight aircraft will be procured and operated by the participating nations in the following years.
The MRTT-C programme is an initiative of the European Defence Agency. The aircraft are owned by NATO and procured by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) through the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). NATO ownership allows all participants to benefit from the complete fleet through a flexible and guaranteed pooling and sharing concept. They will be stationed at the Eindhoven and Cologne airbases and will include a 24/7 medical evacuation capability. Participation in the MRTT-C initiative is open for other member states to join.
The project is an example of effective cooperation between NATO and the European Union in the delivery of critical capabilities for the benefit of all.