News: NATO Secretary General welcomes multinational fleet of tanker shipments, 23 March 2023

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced today (23 March 2023) the launch of a fleet of multinational, multipurpose tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft “ready for all missions” at Eindhoven Air Force Base in the Netherlands. Welcomed.

The Secretary-General attended a ceremony marking the first operational capability of the aircraft fleet, along with Dutch Minister of Defense Kaisa Ollongren, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton and five other countries participating in the project. Officials Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg and Norway.

“These aircraft provide us with world-class air-to-air refueling, air transport and air medical evacuation capabilities. Tanker aircraft are the backbone of Allied airpower,” Stoltenberg said. “Most importantly, the fleet has already proven its worth. Since Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, these tanker transports have helped protect NATO’s eastern flank.” he added.

Last year alone, the fleet completed more than 500 missions, refueling hundreds of NATO fighters and keeping Allied airspace safe. These aircraft have also assisted in the evacuation of civilians and refugees from Afghanistan, deployed to the Indo-Pacific for exercises with key NATO partners, including Australia, and later this year to support operations against ISIS. will be deployed in the Middle East on

The European Defense Agency, the Joint Arms Cooperation Organization, and the NATO Support and Acquisition Agency worked together to develop this state-of-the-art fleet.

“This is a great example of how NATO and the EU are working together to provide member states with critical capabilities,” Stoltenberg said. “This also shows that our European allies are stepping up for defense and strengthening our common security,” he concluded.

The fleet currently has seven aircraft in service. Two more aircraft are scheduled to be added in 2024, with delivery of her 10th aircraft scheduled for the end of 2026.

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