Canada takes delivery of first CC-330 Husky aircraft

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | September 6, 2023

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, seconds.

The first of nine CC-330 Husky aircraft — the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) version of the Airbus A330 MRTT, based on the civilian A330-200 — has arrived in Canada. The aircraft, 330002, landed at Ottawa International Airport (CYOW) on Aug. 31.

The new CC-330 fleet will replace the RCAF’s current fleet of aging CC-150 Polaris aircraft in the strategic tanker transport capability (STTC) role.

The first CC-330 Husky arriving in Ottawa (YOW) on Aug. 31, 2023. Photo submitted by Lawrence Glew
The first CC-330 Husky arriving in Ottawa (CYOW) on Aug. 31, 2023. Lawrence Glew Photo

In July, the Canadian government awarded Airbus Defence and Space with a $3.6 billion contract for four new Airbus-built A330 MRTTs and the conversion of five used A330-200s to the MRTT configuration. The contract is part of Canada’s STTC project, which determined in 2021 that Airbus’s A330 MRTT bid was the only one that met the RCAF’s requirements.

Among the five used A330-200s, two were acquired by Canada in July 2022 for US$102 million. A year later, three more were purchased for US$150 million. The aircraft were all previously operated by Kuwait Airways and acquired through International AirFinance Corporation.

While the five aircraft were formerly used for commercial operations, four will be converted to the full MRTT configuration — alongside four brand-new A330 MRTTs — capable of troop and cargo transport, aeromedical evacuation, and air-to-air refueling. The initial CC-330 delivered to Canada (330002) will be utilized for secure transport of high-ranking government officials. This particular aircraft wears a white Canadian government livery, while the remaining eight jets will receive an operational grey livery.

According to government officials, 330002 could be converted to a tanker at a later date, if needed.

330002 on the ramp at CYOW. Lawrence Glew Photo

Following its arrival in Ottawa, the first CC-330 will “continue its acceptance and retrofit activities,” according to the Canadian Armed Forces. All five of the used A330-200s are to receive a “limited retrofit” to bring them to the standard of a new A330-200. The fleet of nine CC-330 Huskies is to be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

While 330002 is expected to enter service this fall in its VIP transport role, a second CC-330 will join the aircraft shortly and will also operate in a transport role until it is able to be converted into the MRTT configuration. The other three used A330-200s are to be delivered to Canada in the summer of 2024.

According to the federal government, the RCAF is expected to receive the first MRTT converted aircraft by 2025.

The four brand-new A330-200s will be assembled by Airbus at its Toulouse, France, site, and will enter the MRTT conversion line in Getafe, Spain, in mid-2025. The RCAF is expected to take delivery of both new and used MRTT aircraft (CC-330s) in 2027.

The fleet of nine CC-330 aircraft is to be operated by 437 Transport Squadron out of 8 Wing Trenton, Ont. — as is the case with the current Polaris fleet. The RCAF is still deciding on bases for eight of the aircraft, while the VIP transport aircraft will operate from CYOW.

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  1. A proud day for everyone involved in the A330 MRTT programme. We wish many years of successful operations for this aircraft by the RCAF.

  2. A long time coming but an important acquisition for the Huskies.

    1. Canada has already placed orders for 88 F35s, with first deliveries in 2026 and full fleet delivered by 2033-2034. The hornet is a terrible choice, it’s production is ending in the next few years which means limited upgrades and limited parts availability. The F35 is also cheaper per unit, and has a lower operating cost

    2. If you mean the Super Hornet, that deal was squashed when Boeing got mad at Bombardier for partnering with Airbus to make a 737 competitor, that continues to be vapor ware. We should have chosen Saab JAS 39s over the F35, but Lockheed has better lobbyists.

  3. A typical Canadian move. The 330 technology is over 30 years old and Airbus can’t give them away anymore. Why not the A350 or 787? I guess this should be expected from a government that has diddled away several decades deciding on a new fighter that has cost many billions and made us the laughingstock of the world.

    1. You seem to be misinformed; it’s the best tanker on the market at the moment and was selected with a minimum of drama – I’d call that a win!

    2. Because neither the A350 or B787 platform are offered in a multi role tanker conversion. The A330 platform the DND selected is by far the most modern and capable option available.
      Consider that the USAF is still taking deliveries of hundreds of new build Pegasus KC-767 tankers, based on B767 technology which is nearly 50 years old.

    3. Because the A330 is the basis for multi role tanker transport model that Canada bought. The MRTT was introduced in service in 2011 and is currently one of two models used by Canadian allies. The other being the Boeing KC-46 which is based on the Boeing 767, an even older airframe design while also having multiple problems that are still being fixed. You can’t simply slap fuel tanks in a newer airliner and call it a day. Canada would be forced to pay for the engineering changes and new production line if it wanted a more recently designed air frame. As it stands the A330 MRTT is used by 9 allied countries including France, Australia, Britain and with South Korea.

    4. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Those aircraft will be converted to MRTT, which is a program for the A330. The A350 or the 787 have never been converted into tankers. The A330 MRTT is operated or has been ordered by a bunch of countries in the world: Australia, Brazil, France, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, UAEs, United Kingdom. Airbus has a backlog of hundreds of orders for the A330 it is still a very popular aircraft and you’ll be seeing it in the sky and at airports for many decades to come. If anything buying lightly used airplanes for millions instead of billions and converting them to military standard is a wise and responsible move by Canada.

  4. Of course one of the jets is for the transport of “high level officials” meaning Trudeaus version of air force one. Usual liberal move to hide their perks in another transaction.

    1. Not to defend this PM, but every PM needs to get places and every PM has to bring a shit-ton of media people and aids with them. This isn’t very liberal at all. In fact, by acquisition standards this deal is very conservative. I’m sure whoever the next PM is, they will appreciate getting places on a proven and reliable air frame.

  5. The backbone of the Canadian Military is the arm forces of the USA . No countries military will harm Canada as the USA will be there ASAP. We Canadians have to be proud of our Canadian neighbours to the south, we most certainly should not be in favour of our present day government. Canadian government principles are not based on free enterprise or free speech ask Dr Jordon Peterson. When are Canadians going to wake up and dismiss this government who have just purchased 30 year old planes and delayed purchase of up dated Fighter Jets. Sad days still prevail here in Canada.

  6. This 330 is based on the A300 a 1970 technology. The first 330 flew in 1992, some 30+ years ago and the government is buying some used? REALLY?

  7. These are not your father’s A330’s. Much like most fleet types, the 330 has been the subject of improvements and upgrades which Kuwait Airways, as the previous Husky operator, took full advantage of. The new ships will be the NEO variant, with improved Trent 7000 engines, and which are $100M cheaper per airframe than an A350 (still not an MRTT option) So, no they are not “used” like a ’97 civic…….

    1. You seem to be pretty well versed in the platform. My question is how does this aircraft compare to the Polaris aircraft they ran into the ground for cost to operate per hour.
      And to that, how does the A330/200 compare to the Boeing refuelers that they are churning out down south?
      I can’t give the CAF any credit, since they refuse to ever do anything that even hints at
      Also someone mentioned ‘ bought with a minimum of drama’ . Canada was told to get the refueler capacity, or stop going to NATO parties. This might be the fastest they could get them. Since this announcement was only a few months after Canada had it’s ‘come to Jesus’ moment with NATO.

    1. A great choice. I ended up with several thousand hours on 332 aircraft. 6 tons per hr! Nice to see you here.

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