Airbus Defence and Space has secured two contracts worth $1.27 billion from the French government to provide capability enhancement and in-service support for the country’s A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport fleet.
Under the first agreement, the company will install a MELISSA satellite communications station on each of the A330s to provide continued connectivity for the aircraft even in challenged environments and extreme weather conditions.
Equipped with the satcom device, the aircraft will function as an airborne communications relay terminal with command and control capabilities.
In a statement, Jean-Brice Dumont, chief of military air systems at Airbus, said the project will prepare the A330 MRRT fleet for eventual integration into France’s Future Combat Air System program.
The organization will convert the first plane at its facilities in Getafe, Spain, and upgrade the remaining 14 units in France.
Meanwhile, the second contract will provide fleet modernization, maintenance, logistics and technical support to ensure operational availability for the French Air and Space Force’s A330s.
Work will run for 10 years with two option years and will be performed at Istres Air Base in France. Airbus will beef up its workforce in the country and collaborate with French partners to satisfy the contract requirements.
The company said it expects the required services to increase the level of availability, reactivity and resiliency for all the A330 MRRTs deployed within and outside of the country.