NATO Pursuing Allied Tanker Fleet

The Netherlands is spearheading acquisition of a pooled NATO air refueling tanker-cargo fleet in association with Allied and European acquisition officials. The Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport fleet project “is now beginning to take tangible form to realize an additional air-to-air-refueling capability for Europe, NATO Support Agency manager Mike Lynden said in a Nov. 21 allied release. NATO signed a cooperation agreement with a group of European acquisition officials to oversee the selection and acquisition of a shared tanker fleet, similar to its pooled AWACS and heavy airlift consortiums. In addition to the Netherlands and Norway, NATO members Belgium and Poland also expressed interest in the MMRTT project, IHS Jane’s reported. Potential aircraft include the KC-46 Pegasus chosen by the Air Force, or Airbus A330 MRTT operated by Britain and recently selected by France. Commercial tanker services also intend to bid on the contract, which is expected to be awarded in 2015, according Jane’s. Initial operational capability is planned for 2019.