The Algerian Air Force has evaluated Airbus Military’s A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), indicating a possible purchase by the North African country.
An A330 MRTT destined for the Royal Air Force conducted trials at the Algerian Air Force’s main transport base of Boufarik near the capital Algiers earlier this month, reports Aviation Week & Space Technology.
The aircraft that landed featured two refuelling pods mounted on the wingtips and did not feature the central refuelling boom.
The demonstration was requested by the Algerian government, which means the likelihood of a sale is high. Unconfirmed reports suggest the North African country may acquire three A330s.
Airbus Military declined to comment on the A330 MRTT’s presence in Algeria and referred questions to the Algerian government.
The A330 MRTT is based on the commercial A330-200 passenger jet and is able to carry up to 111 tonnes of fuel in its wings. It can be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry up to 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes. It can also be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions. It has been ordered by the United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Algeria is modernising its military and seems to be replacing some of its older Russian equipment. It operates several Ilyushin Il-78 Midas aerial refuelling tankers.
According to the ‘Secret Difa3′ blog, on April 22 Boeing demonstrated a C-17 to the Algerian Air Force at the Tamanrasset test centre. The aircraft was reportedly from the US Air Force’s 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base in Washington. Algeria is apparently looking to order 6-8 Globemaster IIIs, but this cannot be confirmed.