German Air Force retires last A310 MRTT

Transport and aerial refueling aircraft will be replaced by A330 MRTTs operated by NATO’s MRTT Multinational Unit

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) withdrew its last A310-304 MRTT from service on 15 June. Airbus’ widebody-based transport and aerial refueling aircraft had been in operation since 1990 as part of a fleet of seven jets.

Originally, the last aircraft, designated 10+25, was supposed to be retired in February, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine motivated the Luftwaffe to keep it active.

However, the A310 MRTT had to be decommissioned in June due to the need for a Check D, which would take months to complete.

According to reports, the tanker jet will be passed on to the Royal Canadian Air Force, which is the only one to keep the A310 MRTT in service, but only as a source of spare parts.

In place of the A310, the Luftwaffe will rely on the A330 MRTT, supplied by NATO’s Netherlands-based Multinational Unit MRTT, which is not yet operational.

Meanwhile, Germany will make available some A400M turboprops for aerial refueling and also aeromedical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions, other tasks assigned to the A310-304 MRTT.

Swissair A310-200 (Steve Fitzgerald)

Long-haul widebody

The A310 was the second aircraft to be launched by Airbus in the 1970s. Based on the larger A300, the twin-engine jet offered less passenger capacity, but greater range and some more advanced systems such as the “glass cockpit”. However, only 255 aircraft were manufactured until 1998, when the assembly line was closed.

The Luftwaffe acquired seven A310s in the late 1980s, four of which were converted for aerial refueling and MEDEVAC. The other three were used for transport, including VIP variants.

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