The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that AirTanker team has been
selected as the preferred bidder for the FSTA program and will enter into
detailed negotiations for the supply of A330-200 MRTT aircraft.
The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is aimed to replace current VC10
Victor and TriStar tanker and transport aircraft fleet operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF). The
airborne platform selected to meet the FSTA program is
Airbus A330-200 commercial aircraft
modified under EADS MultiRole Tanker
Transport (MRTT) initiative.
The AirTanker consortium consists of EADS, Rolls-Royce, Cobham and Thales UK.
According to the MoD, final negotiations to validate AirTanker proposal could
likely take a number of months.
AirTanker consortium would own and maintain the FSTA fleet and provide training
services as well, while the RAF will be responsible for military operations. The
bargain could allow AirTanker to make use of FSTAs in peacetime to generate
additional income through commercial use, when not required by the RAF.
The FSTA program total cost including logistics support and related services is £13 billion
(approx. $23.2 billion) during an estimated period of
27 years. The FSTA would enter service with the RAF in 2008 and by 2012 is
expected to have replaced current VC10 and TriStar fleet.
EADS A310-based MRTT solution was selected by Germany and Canada for their air
forces. Totaling 6 A310 MRTT aircraft. The British A330-200 MRTT will be fitted
with Rolls-Royce Trent engines and will be able to carry up to 111 tons of fuel
or up to 300 personnel in the cargo/transport configuration.
The total number of A330-220 MRTTs to be procured by the United Kingdom has not
been disclosed yet.
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