On 24 October, the Czech Republic joined the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) programme. The Ministers of Defence of the six MMF nations (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Norway and Czech Republic) signed the MMF Memorandum of Understanding, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General and representatives of OCCAR, EDA and NSPA during a ceremony at NATO HQ in Brussels.
The new NATO Deputy Secretary General Mr Mircea Geoana, underlined in his speech the great success of the programme and complimented the nations and the agencies for the achievement in the first successful cooperative programme between EU and NATO.
The MMF now consists of six nations who will jointly operate a fleet of eight A-330 MRTT aircraft under NATO and NSPA's Multinational MRTT Fleet Support Partnership ownership that allows nations to jointly acquire, sustain and maintain the fleet.
The aircraft will be configured for inflight refuelling, the transport of passengers (including VIP) and cargo, and medical evacuation flights. The first three aircraft are currently in production at the Airbus Defence and Space's tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid in 2020.
Five additional aircraft are now ordered to allow the MMF nations to operate a fleet of eight units. Options for additional aircraft are currently included in the contract and the fleet is expected to grow in the coming months with additional commitments from the MMF nations or by adding new members to the MMF initiative.
This successful multinational programme run by NSPA in close cooperation with OCCAR is still open to additional user nations, initial indications show that there is interest, therefore we may see some future growth to this multinational programme in the near future.