Canada RCAF CC 330 002 credit Canadian Armed Forces 640Roll out first RCAF Airbus A330

On 31 May 2023, Canada's first Airbus A330 showed its Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) colours at Basel/Mulhouse (France). The aircraft, with last three of serial 002 on the nose, is painted in VIP-colours with Gouvernement du Canada/Government of Canada titles.

The RCAF will replace the existing fleet of Airbus CC-150 Polaris (based on the Airbus A310) transporters and tankers by a number of Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTT) under the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) Programme. In July 2022, the first two aircraft for this programme, both built in 2015, were contracted for USD 102 million. The total number of aircraft for the STTC is six. Scramble Magazine first wrote on the STTC programme in April 2021.

The now contracted aircraft are both former Kuwait Airways, registered 9K-APC (msn 1653) and 9K-APD (msn 1678). Canada will "number" the aircraft as CC-330, with serials 330001 etc. Serial 330002 is the former 9K-APC, as was confirmed today, 1 June, at Basle/Mulhouse. This Airbus arrived there as flight KU8235 from Chateauroux (France), where it arrived on 7 May 2023.

The decision to replace the ageing A310s stems from the increasing challenges of maintaining the aging fleet. As these aircraft have grown older, maintenance issues have escalated, making it imperative to bring in newer, more reliable alternatives. The A330s, larger in size and boasting an extended range, are set to take over the role of their predecessors. However, the transition will not initially include the prime minister’s traditional VIP quarters, as the retrofit process may take up to two years or more. To expedite the deployment of the new jets, the federal government has decided to retain the seating configuration as ordered by the Kuwaitis, at least for an interim period.

Delivery to Canada is expected this summer.

Photo via Canadian Armed Forces

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