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June 20, 2024
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The Government of Canada has announced that it has awarded Airbus Defense and Space a contract for four newly built A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (“MRTT”) aircraft and for converting five used A330-200s to strengthen defense capabilities. The contract has a value of CAD$3.6 billion.

This new fleet will replace the A310-based CC-150 Polaris tankers in the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability and will be named the CC-330 Husky.

A330 MRTT

As the world’s most advanced multirole tanker aircraft, the A330 MRTT perfectly matches Canada’s needs to protect its sovereignty as well as to enhance operations both in the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) as well as in NATO,” said Mike Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space. “Canada achieves this enhancement of operations not only by improving interoperability with other allied A330 MRTT customer nations but also due to the aircraft’s technological primacy ahead of the global competition.”

At least eight of the planes would be used as “true multi-role aircraft” and provide air-to-air refueling and strategic airlifts of troops or passenger transport. In addition, where needed, these aircraft could also deliver specialized aeromedical evacuations.

The all-new tankers will be built in Toulouse on the A330 final assembly facility and converted at the A330 MRTT facilities in Getafe, Spain. The first delivery of the new planes to the RCAF is scheduled for 2027. The first two used planes are scheduled for delivery later this year, with the other three expected in 2024.  

The Bottom Line
After an open procurement, the A330 MRTT was selected as the only aircraft meeting Canada’s multimission aircraft needs.  The Boeing KC46A, based on the Boeing 767, did not meet Canada’s requirements and was excluded from the procurement.  Notably, Airbus has a 90% plus market share for tanker aircraft outside the United States. Airbus won the initial contract in the US, only to have it overturned on a controversial appeal.  It appears Canada has made a safe choice for the A330 MRTT.

author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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