Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Germany and Norway have joined the European Defense Agency's Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet project.
The joining of the two, with Luxembourg and the Netherlands in the project, was accompanied by an order for five Airbus A330 MMT aircraft, bringing the number of aircraft ordered by members to seven, and leaving the potential for it to increase to 11.
EDA said the order was placed on behalf of Germany and Norway by the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement, or OCCAR, which acts as a contracting agent for the NATO Support and Procurement Agency.
"This new order further demonstrates the A330 MRTT's position as the world's premier tanker/transport aircraft," Fernando Alonso, head of Airbus Defense and Space's Military Aircraft, said in a press release. "But it also firmly establishes the MMF as one of Europe's most important collaborative programs and a model for the future European defense projects which are expected to be launched in the coming years."
The seven aircraft now ordered by participants in the MMF program is expected between 2020 and 2022.
Representatives of the countries and agencies and an amendment for the additional aircraft weere signed on Monday.
"The contract amendment signifies an important evolution of the MMF Program as a key capability for NATO and European Air Forces, demonstrates the increasing confidence of European nations in the cooperative solution achieved by the European Union and NATO, and recognizes the A330 MRTT product," EDA said. "Further nations are expected to join the MMF in the future and to exercise the available contract options."
The seven aircraft are to be operated in a pooling arrangement and will be configured for inflight refueling, the transport of passengers and cargo, as well as for medical evacuation.