Lux underwriting €600m European military airplane purchase


Luxembourg’s government is sponsoring the purchase of an A330 military aircraft, like the one pictured here, to be used jointly by 6 European nations. Photo: Nato Support and Procurement Agency 

Luxembourg’s government is stumping up the cash that will let several EU countries jointly buy an additional military aircraft.

The Airbus 330 will be ordered for the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) programme, which is managed by the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in Capellen.

“The new aircraft will bring the MMF fleet to nine aircraft, providing the six participating nations with an enhanced availability to cover their requirement for air-to-air refuelling, strategic transport and medical evacuation,” NSPA said on 28 September.

The first two aircraft have already been delivered, the NSPA stated. “A third one will follow between the end of October and early November. The rest of the fleet will be delivered by the end of 2024.”

In addition to Luxembourg, the other members of the MMF programme are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. The MMF aircraft will be based in Eindoven, the Netherlands, and Cologne, Germany.

Luxembourg’s parliament authorised a budget of €598.4m (not including VAT) to purchase the plane in August.

Separately, Luxembourg’s military will invest more than €197m in an Airbus A400M transport aircraft, which will be based in Belgium.

Despite these sums, the grand duchy will still fall far short of the Nato goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence. Luxembourg’s military represented 0.55% of the country’s economy in 2018 and 0.6% in 2019. The figure is expected to rise to 0.69% in 2023.

Read more about the Nato Support and Procurement Agency in this profile published in Delano’s November/December 2019 magazine.