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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.
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.
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.