First flight for French Phénix MRTT

9:00:00 PM



The first of an expected 12 Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A330-200 MultiRole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft made its maiden flight on 7 September, the company announced.

The aircraft, which is the first of nine to be contracted with three more under option, made its 3 h 25 min maiden flight from Airbus DS’ Getafe conversion facility near Madrid, Spain. As noted by the company, the event passed off “in line with expectations”.

Set to be known as Phénix (Phoenix) in French service, the first of the current nine contracted aircraft is set to be delivered in 2018. The option of the remaining three is expected to be taken up at this time, with deliveries of all 12 set to run through to 2025. Once operational, the platform will replace French Air Force's Boeing KC-135R and C-135FR tankers, as well as the Airbus A340 and A310 passenger transports.

The Phénix will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and equipped with a combination of the Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. It will also be possible to configure the aircraft in a variety of layouts carrying up to 271 passengers as well as medical evacuation arrangements including the French MORPHEE intensive care module carrying up to 10 patients as well as 88 passengers. A cargo door in the upper deck will facilitate the loading of stretchered patients, as well as enabling the aircraft to be better used as a freighter.

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