French Air and Space Force receives its first A330-200 Phenix

Florence Parly, French Minister of Defense, announced in June 2020 the military component of the aeronautics support plan. Three A330-200 planes were included in these advance orders: the first of these three planes has just been delivered to the Air and Space Force.

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French Air and Space Force receives its first A330 200 Phenix 2 Airbus A330-200 Phenix (Picture source: French Air and Space Force)

The plane was flown on Thursday, November 26, 2020 by a crew from the Military Air Expertise Center (CEAM) to Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. A second plane is expected soon. The first two planes will be operated from this airport and will replace the two A340s of the 3.60 “Estérel” Transport Squadron. Thse ageing A340s will be withdrawn from service at the end of December 2020. The third A330-200 Phenix, which will come out of the chain of Airbus production in Toulouse, will be delivered in mid-2021.

The contract notified by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) to Airbus at the end of August 2020 provides for the acquisition of two used aircraft with very good technical potential and one new aircraft. These three planes will be converted to Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) later, to complete the renewal of the refueling fleet, set at 15 aircraft. This objective is enshrined in the 2019-2025 military programming law.

The A330 MRTT Phénix is ramping up. It aims to replace several old fleets with a single model, in the field of in-flight refueling, as in that of strategic transport or medical evacuations.

This acquisition of three A330-200s by the Ministry of Defense, under the aeronautics support plan presented by the Government on June 9, 2020, will enable the Air and Space Force to accelerate the retirement from service of the two aging A340s and two A310s, used for logistics missions of personnel and freight transport.