Airbus Military has been granted civil certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its new tanker, the A330 MRTT. This certification is in relation to the modifications made for it to enter into commercial service and is the first civil certification issued by EASA for an aircraft of these characteristics developed in Europe. In order to obtain certification from EASA, the aircraft has carried out more than 170 test flights involving contacts with aircraft which included American F-16 and F-18 fighters and 707 AWACS.
Now the affiliate of the European EADS Group is awaiting military certification of the A330 from the Spanish Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), given that the aircraft is fitted out in Spain. EADS had high hopes of winning the tender for the United States tanker programme consisting of 170 aircraft with an estimated value of around 35 billion dollars.
However, the European company together with its partner Northrop Grumman decided to withdraw in early March as it considered that the procedure was biased in favour of the other competitor, the U.S. giant Boeing, whose tanker aircraft is still in the development phase and accordingly has still not received certification. The situation has resulted in complaints and claims by the European aeronautical consortium and the countries which comprise EADS, such as France and Germany, who are considering bringing the case before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after the changes made by the Pentagon in the conditions of the operation resulted in the with drawal of the offer by EADS.
Should the company rejoin the tender for the Pentagon contract, the A330 MRTT would have to obtain military certification from the USA, although in principle the execution of the tests carried out to obtain the same certification already granted in Europe would be sufficient.