Here Are The Very First Photos Of The New A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport In French Air Force Livery

The Armée de l’air has just made public the first images of the new MRTT Phénix sporting French Air Force livery and markings.

With a post on their official FB page, the French Air Force has released the first air-to-air shots of the first A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport for France.

The aircraft, which will be known in French service as Phénix, is the first of nine ordered by the French Defence Procurement Agency DGA (plus another three expected to be confirmed). The FAF A330 MRTT made its first flight in September 2017. It features structural modifications, aerodynamic improvements, upgraded avionics computers and enhanced military systems and it was converted in Getafe from a standard A330 assembled in Toulouse.

The photographs just released appear to have been shot earlier today, based on the timestamp on the images. The depicted A330 sports the text “31 EARTS” below the front door just behind the cockpit, from the  31e escadre aérienne de ravitaillement et de transport stratégiques a French Air Force unit activated on Aug. 27, 2014 at Istres and currently equipped with the C-135FR, the text ARMEE DE L’AIR and the emblem of the GRV 02.091 on the tail.

A side view of the new A330 MRTT. The timestamp suggests the image was taken on Jul. 6, 2018, few hours before the photos were released on FB by the French Air Force FB page.

According to Airbus Defence and Space, the Phénix fleet will be equipped with a combination of the Airbus Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. Fifty-one A330 MRTTs have been ordered by eight nations.

Image credit: French Air Force. Make sure you visit their official FB page for more shots.

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About David Cenciotti 3629 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.