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11:28 AM, June 30, 2017
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Germany, Norway MoU For NATO Tanker Fleet To Reduce Over-reliance On US Capabilities
Ursula von der Leyen, German Defense Minister and Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide, Norway Defense Minister join a MoU for European multinational fleet of Airbus tanker transport aircraft (Image: NATO)

The Memorandum of Understanding for European multinational fleet of Airbus tanker transport aircraft signed by Defense Ministers from Germany and Norway will reduce overall European shortage in air-to-air refuelling and the over-reliance on U.S. capabilities

The European multinational fleet of Airbus tanker transport aircraft was originally created by the lead-nation Netherlands and Luxembourg.

NATO has taken an important step in improving its ability to refuel aircraft in mid-air, with two Allies joining a European programme to acquire and operate new tanker transport aircraft, NATO said in a statement Thursday.

The two countries launched the initiative in July 2016 by ordering two Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft, which are due to be delivered in 2020. With Germany and Norway joining the initiative, the fleet is expected to expand to up to seven aircraft.

At today’s signing ceremony, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand stressed that “this initiative highlights the value of a multinational approach to capability development – working together provides cost-effective and flexible solutions.”

Belgium intends to join this programme in early 2018, and the initiative remains open to other new members. The procurement programme is another example of the increasingly close cooperation between NATO and the European Union.

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