The IMFreceived its first A-330 aircraft. Czech Republic is part of the fleet since 2019

The IMFreceived its first A-330 aircraft. Czech Republic is part of the fleet since 2019
Author:|Caption: A330
20 / 07 / 2020, 10:00

A working meeting of the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (IMF) took place in Eindhoven, Netherlands, from 7th to 8th July. The main goal was to present the current state of construction of the multinational squadron, including the expected vision until 2035.

On behalf of the Czech Army, the meeting was attended by Colonel Miloslav Synek, Head of the Helicopter and Transport Aviation Development Department of the MoD Development Section, and Lieutenant Colonel Michal Linhart, Liaison Officer of the IMF Program for the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic has been part of the IMF's multinational fleet since 2019. Five other European Union countries are involved in this project: Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Norway. Its aim is to build a multinational multi-purpose squadron to achieve the missing European capabilities while ensuring the evacuation of the wounded (MEDEVAC) during crisis situations. "The insufficient capacity of European NATO member states in the areas of strategic transport and in-flight refueling was fully reflected in operations in Mali, Libya and Kosovo, where European countries were completely dependent on the US military or other commercial entities," Colonel Synek explained.

See also: Czech Army’s Modernization Projects: CASA C-295M and C-295W

The multinational fleet consists of eight Airbus A-330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) aircraft at Eindhoven and Cologne airports. The delivery of the first A-330 aircraft to the parent base in Eindhoven took place on 30th June, 2020, the other two planes were confirmed by the end of this year. "Aircraft deliveries are key in connection with the training plan and the achievement of full operational capabilities in 2023, when the Czech Republic will have the required 100 flight hours per year," Colonel Synek described.

The membership of the Czech Republic in this initiative brings, above all, an increase in the mentioned capacities of strategic transport of persons, cargo, medical evacuation and maintaining the ability of the tactical air force to refuel in flight. "By participating in the program, countries have free access to an agreed number of flight hours, which they can use at their discretion for training, joint exercises or operations," Lt. Col. Linhart said, adding: "Thanks to the project, our pilots will be able to improve in-flight refueling it is also used for tactical overflight. Our four-member team integrated into the squadron structure from 2023 will gain experience in operating commercial aircraft in an international environment. "

The initiator of the IMF (Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet) program is the European Defense Agency (EDA). The aircraft is owned by NATO, more precisely by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), which will also ensure their maintenance. The conversion of the A-330 aircraft from the civilian to the military version is carried out by the OCCAR company.

See also: Czech defence acquisitions in troubles – another tender to be cancelled

The IMF program was initiated by the Netherlands (it signed an agreement to use 2,000 flight hours per year) in 2016 and was subsequently joined by four other above-mentioned European countries - Belgium (1,000 hours), Germany (5,500 hours), Luxembourg (200 hours) and Norway (100 hours).

The Airbus A330-200 is a new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft. It has a large basic fuel capacity of 111 tonnes to assure air-to-air refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tanks within the passenger area. It can also carry up to 267 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes. It can also be easily converted into Medical Evacuation Confi guration to accommodate up to 6 Intensive Care Units and 16 stretchers.


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