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Saudi Arabia expands air force with four more Airbus tankers

Royal Saudi Air Force to receive new A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft by 2027

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Saudi Arabia Airbus A330 MRTT in 2013. (Photo: Airbus)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has placed an order for four additional Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, expanding its fleet of aerial refueling and transport planes. The new aircraft are slated to enter service with the Royal Saudi Arabia Air Force (RSAF) in 2027.

The contract, announced on July 10, 2024, includes a comprehensive logistics support package with spare parts, training services, and service support for the new aircraft. This marks the third contract between Saudi Arabia and Airbus for the A330 MRTT, positioning the RSAF as one of the largest operators of this aircraft type globally.

This new order demonstrates the high level of customer satisfaction with the A330 MRTT.

Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Air Power at Airbus Defence and Space

The RSAF’s A330 MRTTs are equipped with hose and drogue pods, a boom system, and refueling receptacles, allowing them to refuel other aircraft and be refueled themselves by boom-equipped tankers.

As part of the deal, Airbus signed an Industrial Participation agreement with the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) in January 2024. This agreement aims to support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program by developing the local industrial ecosystem and transferring technology and knowledge to Saudi companies.

SAAMS, a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Airbus, will play a key role in the industrial localization efforts.

The A330 MRTT has gained significant traction in the global market, with Airbus reporting a 90% market share outside the United States. To date, the company has received 82 orders from 15 countries across Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania.

The first of the newly ordered aircraft is scheduled to begin conversion in early 2026, with all four expected to join the RSAF fleet the following year.

Written by
Dirk Andrei Salcedo

An aviation enthusiast turned creator of the top aviation news portal in the Philippines, Dirk has a deep passion for everything that flies. When he's not keeping his finger on the pulse of the industry, he also volunteers with a major humanitarian organization, impacting people on the ground and in the sky.

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