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NATO declares IOC for MRTT capability

With the IOC that was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic now declared, the MMU is working towards full operating capability in 2024. At that time, 10 KC-30M aircraft will provide Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway with 10,000 flight hours per year. (NSPA)

NATO declared initial operating capability (IOC) for its Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) Unit (MMU) on 23 March.

The event at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands was hosted by the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, Kajsa Ollongren, and was attended by several other dignitaries as well as high-level officials from the other participating countries โ€“ Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, and Norway. The IOC was meant to be declared before the end of 2021, but this was delayed largely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The MMU has to date received seven of 10 Airbus A330-200 (designated KC-30M by NATO) tanker-transport aircraft, which make up the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF). With this MMF, the MMU will deliver 10,000 flight hours per year divided among the countries, with Germany taking the largest share. The programme's member countries have the option to order an additional aircraft for every 1,100 flying hours added to the programme.

The final three KC-30M aircraft are to be delivered by the end of 2024, to coincide with the declaration of full operating capability (FOC). Six MRTTs will operate from Eindhoven Air Base, with a further four operating from the forward operating base at Cologne-Wahn Air Base (one of which will be permanently configured for the medical evacuation role).

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