France uses the A330 MRTT Phoenix in the fight against the Covid-19. The Ministry of the Armed Forces announced on March 18 the use of the tanker. Thanks to its Resuscitation Module for High Evacuation Elongation Patient (Morphee), it allows medical evacuation of patients in serious condition.
On March 18 and 21, the plane took off from air base 125 in Istres (Bouches-du-Rhône), heading to Basel-Mulhouse airport. The first six patients were sent to the Laveran (Marseille) and Sainte-Anne (Toulon) army training hospitals. Six others were recovered and transferred to the Bordeaux University Hospital.
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A flying resuscitation service
The Morphee module allows the A330 Phoenix to become a “real flying resuscitation service,” said a press release. In addition to medical equipment, a team of up to 24 people can be transported: six to twelve crew members depending on the elongation, and twelve members of the Armed Forces Health Service (SSA) for the care of wounded. This latter staff can be increased “according to the needs of certain patients”, adds the press release. Since its first use in 2008 in Kosovo, Morphee has served five times. It is the first time that it has been used on French soil.
With its maximum payload of 45 tonnes and its transport capacity of more than 100 tonnes of fuel, the A330 Phoenix has been chosen by the French army to refuel its Rafales. A total of fifteen A330 MRTT Phoenix aircraft are provided for in the military planning law and twelve are already funded. Six are scheduled to be delivered by 2022, the remainder by 2024. By October 2019, the first two had been put into operational service.