The Czech Republic joins multinational fleet of tanker-transport aircraft
On Thursday (24 October 2019), the Czech Republic joined a multinational effort to acquire and operate new tanker transport aircraft – the Multi Role Tanker Transport Capability. This initiative was launched by the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 2016 and aims to boost the ability of European Allies to refuel aircraft in mid-air.
The multinational fleet arrangement is a concrete step towards reducing the overall European shortage in air-to-air refuelling and the over-reliance on U.S. capabilities. The participants – Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway - are now awaiting the delivery of eight Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft. The first two aircraft are expected to be delivered in May and June 2020, respectively. While the aircraft will be predominantly used for air-to-air refuelling, they can also be used for the transport of people, cargo and for medical evacuation.
The initiative has been supported by NATO and the European Union. It is an example of effective cooperation between the two organizations when delivering critical capabilities for its members. The aircraft are owned by NATO and procured by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency through the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation. “I am pleased to see our two organizations come together in this way and hope to see more initiatives like this one in the future,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana.