An old Airbus of the Avianca airline in service with the French air and space forces

The French Air and Space Force or Armée de l? Air et de l? Espace received a new one in Paris. Airbus A330-200 transport aircraft, the fifth to enter the French civil service.

The aircraft, built in 2015, arrived at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport on November 26th and already wore the colors of the French Republic and the civil registration F-UJCS. This A330-200, built at the Airbus plant in Toulouse, was delivered to Avianca Brasil in May 2017, for which it operated with the Brazilian civil registration PR-OCG. Later, in 2019, it was re-registered with the North American N203SA, until it was acquired by the French DGA (Direction Générale de l ?? Armement) that year.

This is the first of three A330s acquired by the French defense acquisition agency DGA as part of the French government’s aviation support plan amid the COVID-19 crisis. The second aircraft is expected to be delivered in late 2020 and the third in mid-2021. The first two aircraft will have their main base at Paris Roissy Airport. The Armée de l? Air et de l? Espace is to relieve the two experienced Airbus A340s in strategic transport missions, those of the ET (l? Escadron de Transport) 3/60 ?? Estérel ?? Currently operating from Creil (Oise) Air Base. These A340s will be taken out of active service at the end of December 2020.

The Center for Research and Testing of Military Aviation or CEAM (Center d ?? Expertise Aérienne Militaire) will now conduct a brief but intense experimentation with the ?? new ?? A330 and the others received to check the proper functioning, the interface to its operating environment (mission preparation, ground support) and the technical (maintenance contract) to ensure full operation as soon as possible. possible in the series of ET 3/60.

The acquisition of three of these aircraft under the government’s aviation assistance plan on June 9, 2020, will put the aging A340 and A310 fleets out of service. This acquisition took place at the end of August 2020 on the basis of two used aircraft with very good technical potential and a new aircraft ordered from Airbus. The renovation work, at least in the first, will be carried out by the French company MRO Tarmac Aerosave, which has its plants in the south of France, particularly at Toulouse and Tarbes airports

These three aircraft will eventually become the Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) variant at the Airbus Defense & Space (DS) plant in Getafe, Madrid, to complete the renewal of the French air and space forces tanker fleet. . So far, the Spanish plant has delivered three A330s that have been converted to the multifunctional version mentioned above. In addition, the Armée de l? Air et de l? Espace has another A330 that has been reconfigured for VIP transport, the registered F-RARF, which has been used by high institutions since its inception in November 2010.

After their conversion, they will return to the three aircraft in the acquisition phase and will be added to the fleet of 12 MRTTs planned for 2023 that will make the fleet of this material of the Armée de l? Air et de l? Espace will hit 15 aircraft as per the ultimate goal foreseen in the Multiannual Military Programming Act (LPM) from 2019-2025.

This acquisition of the A330 MRTT, referred to as the “Phénix” by the French military, is intended to replace several aging fleets of air refueling and strategic transport aircraft such as the Boeing C-135FR / KC-135 and the aforementioned A310 and A340 for both a single model in the field of in-flight refueling as well as in the field of strategic transport or medical evacuation. (Julio Maíz Sanz)

Photography: The ?? new ?? Airbus A330-200 of the Armée de l? Air et de l? Espace in front of the hangar of the French company Tarmac Aerosave. (Photo asphalt)

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