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EADS-Led AirTanker Consortium Signs 27 Year Air Refuelling Contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence

EADS-Led AirTanker Consortium Signs 27 Year Air Refuelling Contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence

A fleet of new Airbus A330-200s will replace the RAF’s TriStar and VC-10 aircraft under a £13 billion PFI deal signed today with AirTanker Ltd, announced Baroness Taylor, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support. The aircraft – which will be owned by AirTanker under the terms of the deal, although they will fly in RAF ‘colours’ – will undertake air to air refueling and passenger air transport tasks. The aircraft are expected to enter service around 2011, to serve for three decades. The deal is good news for British jobs: up to 600 are expected to be created by AirTanker Ltd, and the deal will safeguard up to 3,000 jobs directly at British sites, with thousands more sustained indirectly. Sources: Royal Air Force and EADS. London/Amsterdam, March 27, 2008.

AirTanker © Photo.

  • EADS is to become RAF's leading supplier of military transport aircraft

  • AirTanker aircraft will be more than 50 per cent British by value

  • The Airbus A330-200 has now won each of the last five military tanker contracts internationally demonstrating its superior capability, flexibility and economics

  • EADS is undertaking further investment and growth of its UK defence business

  • World’s largest ever Defence Private Financing Initiative (“PFI”), worth approx £13 billion (€16.7 billion) over 27 years

    Artist's view of the MRTT-A330 in RAF ‘colours’. AirTanker © Photo.

    Artist's view of the MRTT-A330 in RAF ‘colours’

AirTanker, the EADS-led consortium, has today signed a 27 year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence for the provision of air transport and air refuelling capability to the Royal Air Force. The AirTanker consortium has also completed its financing for the programme, raising approx £2.5 billion (€3.2 billion) for investment in the fleet, a new state-of-the-art operational base and associated infrastructure.

Artist's view of the MRTT-A330 in RAF ‘colours’. AirTanker © Photo.

Artist's view of the MRTT-A330 in RAF ‘colours’

The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme includes the provision of a fleet of 14 new tanker aircraft, based on the latest generation Airbus A330-200 to enter service from 2011, replacing the previous fleet of VC-10 and Tristar refuelling aircraft. The contract also includes provision for all necessary infrastructure, training, maintenance, flight management, fleet management and ground services to enable the RAF to fly air-to-air refuelling and transport missions worldwide. The A330 FSTA aircraft will be more than 50% British by value. Through this agreement, EADS will become the RAF’s leading supplier of transport aircraft, complementing its existing commitment to supply 25 A400M aircraft to the UK forces.

Artist's view of the MRTT-A330 in RAF ‘colours’. AirTanker © Photo.

Artist's view of the MRTT-A330 in RAF ‘colours’

EADS CEO Louis Gallois commented: “We are proud to be providing the RAF with the very best air-to-air refuelling solution available internationally. The MoD’s requirements are known to be highly exacting, and we are grateful that its trust has been placed in EADS and our consortium partners, Cobham, Rolls-Royce, Thales and VT Group. For our part, this win further demonstrates the A330 as the platform of choice for the world’s refuelling fleets and comes on the back of our recent success in the US market. This award strengthens our ongoing commitment to grow our business in the UK in the long-term.

The Future Strategic Tanker and Transport Aircraft. EADS © Photo.

The Future Strategic Tanker and Transport Aircraft. EADS © Photo

The Military Transport Aircraft Division (MTAD) is responsible within the EADS Group for all military derivative programmes based on Airbus platforms. For the FSTA programme, MTAD will be responsible for the design and development of the A330 FSTA aircraft, and for delivering them on-time to AirTanker, fully certified and MoD qualified.

AirTanker © Photo.

Carlos Suarez, Head of EADS Military Transport Aircraft Division, added: “With this comprehensive service contract, we now cover the full spectrum of customers’ requirements. The A330-200 based tanker solution has now won the last five consecutive military tanker competitions internationally. This demonstrates the A330’s superior capability, flexibility and economics.”

AirTanker © Photo.

Robin Southwell, CEO of EADS UK, said: “This is a hugely important step forward for EADS in the UK and for our defence business, both in this country and internationally. The Air Tanker A330s promise to provide a crucial enhancement of tanking and transport capability for the UK armed forces. The nature of the PFI funding also means that the programme offers real value for money to the UK tax payer.”

AirTanker and UK MoD representatives signing the contract. AirTanker © Photo.

AirTanker and UK MoD representatives signing the contract

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of € 39.1 billion and employed a workforce of about 116,000. The Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and EADS Astrium, the European leader in space programmes from Ariane to Galileo. Its Defence & Security Division is a provider of comprehensive systems solutions and makes EADS the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium as well as a stakeholder in the missile systems provider MBDA. EADS also develops the A400M through its Military Transport Aircraft Division.

Contact médias :

Pierre Bayle: (France) Tel.: +33 1 42 24 20 63 --  Jeremy Greaves: (Grande-Bretagne) Tel.: +44 207 845 8419 -- Markus Wölfle: (Allemagne) Tel.: +49 89 60 73 42 87 -- José María Palomino: (Espagne) Tel.: +34 91 585 77 89

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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