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France to buy 12 Airbus tankers worth 3 bn euros


Airbus A330 MRTT planes

PARIS (AFP): France's defence ministry announced on Thursday the purchase of 12 Airbus refuelling tankers worth around USD 3.8 billion.

"Our desire to modernise our airborne deterrence division is taking concrete form with this contract," said Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a statement.

The first two Airbus A330 MRTT planes are to be delivered in 2018 and 2019, with one or two more planes added each year after that.

They will gradually replace the air force's ageing fleet of Boeing KC-135 planes, some of which are over 50 years old.

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