AirTanker Formally Selected Preferred Bidder for FSTA Program

Released on Monday, February 28, 2005
United Kingdom
Airbus A330-200
FSTA - Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft
MoD - Ministry of Defence
MRTT - Multi-Role Tanker Transport
PFI - Private Finance Initiative
RAAF - Royal Australian Air Force
RAF - Royal Air Force
UK - United Kingdom
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) of the United Kingdom has selected formally AirTanker consortium as the preferred bidder for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) program. This decision follows the announcement approximately one year ago that UK MoD was entering negotiations with AirTanker to become the program's preferred bidder.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) FSTA program is valued at £13 billion ($25 billion) and will provide air refueling capability for at least 27 years under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Several thousands of jobs are expected to be created and sustained throughout the United Kingdom thanks to this program. AirTanker consortium comprises EADS, Rolls-Royce, Cobham, VT Group and Thales UK.

The key asset of a PFI solution for FSTA, which was established in 1997, is that FSTA aircraft can generate revenue through commercial use in peacetime when these aircraft are not required for use by the RAF. AirTanker proposal is based on Airbus' A330-200 jetliner fitted with Trent engines provided by Rolls-Royce. The A330-200 fleet is expected to operate from RAF Brize Norton site in Oxfordshire, UK.

FSTA/A330 is planned to replace RAF VC10 Victor and Tristar tanker/transport aircraft fleet. The capability provided by these aircraft is critical for modern armed forces to rapidly deploy during international crisis over long distances. In addition to air refueling services, these aircraft will be able to transport troops and equipment in support of military expeditionary forces.

The AirTanker solution is also known as the Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft which includes Airbus A310 and 330 modified to fit into that role. Australia also selected A330 MRTT solution consisting of five aircraft to meet the requirements of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). AirTanker and the MoD will now enter final stage of negotiations before the signing ceremony of the FSTA contract.


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