June 30 (UPI) -- Germany and Norway have signed a memorandum of understanding to join the Netherlands and Luxembourg in the purchase and operation of transport aircraft.
A news release Thursday announced the latest additions to the Dutch-led coalition. The project will lead to the purchase of five additional Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft.
The Netherlands and Luxembourg ordered two of the aircraft last year. The four countries will share the seven transports depending on their investment in the project.
Airbus will deliver the aircraft starting in 2020.
A news release from NATO said Belgium intends to join the cooperative effort next year.
The OCCAR, a European agency overseeing cooperative armament projects, is managing the acquisition on behalf of an agency within NATO. The agency will be responsible for life-cycle management of the fleet once the aircraft have been acquired.
"The MMF (Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport) is a prime example of European defense cooperation which shows that once a capability shortfall has been jointly identified, European nations can pull together, work on a common project aimed at filling the gap, and eventually deliver, " said European Defense Agency Chief Executive Jorge Domecq. "It's pooling and sharing at its best."