Earlier this afternoon, one of MAR’s team members witnessed a French Air Force Airbus A330 MRTT tanker with serial ‘043’, nicknamed Phénix performing a touch and go at Toulouse Blagnac airport.
The well-dubbed A330 MRTT “Phénix” is due to replace over the 2018-2025 period the now well long-in-tooth Boeing Stratotanker fleet of fourteen aircraft — C-135FR and KC-135RG — which have been at the heart of France’s “Force de Frappe” since 1964.
The A330 MRTT “Phénix” tanker aircraft was used for the first time in operation by the French Air Force on March 22, 2019. The aircraft ferried two Rafale C of 30th Hunter Escadre to the H5 Prince Hassan Air Base Air Base in Amman-Marqa, Jordan. Since 2014, the French Air Force operates from this base as part of the “Opération Chammal“, name given to the participation of France in the US-led coalition against the so-called Islamic State.
By 2023, the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) will field 12 A330-MRTT, with an option for further 3 examples by 2025.
The Phénix missions will include the implementation of the air component of French nuclear deterrence, the projection of forces and power as well as the medical transport in case of emergency medical evacuation.