£13 billion deal for new Tanker Aircraft signed

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£13 billion deal for new Tanker Aircraft signed

Post by Guest on Sat 29 Mar 2008, 2:31 pm

A fleet of new Air Transport and Refuelling Airbus A330-200s will replace the RAF's TriStar and VC-10 aircraft under a £13 billion Private Finance Initiative deal signed today, Thursday 27 March 2008.

The deal with AirTanker Ltd, which was announced by Baroness Taylor, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, expects to create up to 600 jobs at AirTanker Ltd, and will safeguard up to 3,000 jobs directly at British sites, with thousands more sustained indirectly.

The aircraft – which will be owned by AirTanker under the terms of the deal, but fly in RAF 'colours' – will undertake air-to-air refuelling and passenger air transport tasks. The aircraft are expected to enter service around 2011, to serve for three decades.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor, said:

"This deal represents great news for the Royal Air Force and great news for British industry and jobs. The A330s will provide a state-of-the-art air-to-air tanker and passenger aircraft supporting operations around the world and delivering British forces to operational theatres.

"Achieving a satisfactory outcome to this complex, high value, PFI deal has been challenging, particularly given the factors currently affecting the financial markets. I congratulate all those involved in securing this cost effective deal."

Commenting on the announcement, Phil Blundell, CEO of AirTanker, said:

"This is a major step forward for the MOD and AirTanker. The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme provides the MOD and RAF with state-of-the-art transport and refuelling equipment, which represents a step-change in performance.

"The Airbus A330 FSTA fleet will deliver unrivalled levels of capability, reliability, flexibility and economy to the UK Armed Forces. We are looking forward hugely to working with the MOD to put in place the new fleet and service."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, said:

"This is a very welcome announcement. Air-to-air refuelling and strategic airlift are fundamental to the UK's expeditionary capability and the Future Tanker is a crucial element of that capability.

"The A330-200 is an extremely versatile aircraft, which is ideally suited to our requirements, and I look forward both to the aircraft's introduction in 2011, and the significant private investment in the infrastructure at RAF Brize Norton. Overall, this is excellent news for the RAF and for the UK's Armed Forces."

Air Marshal Iain McNicoll, Deputy Commander-in-Chief (Operations) at Air Command added:

"The current fleet cannot match the despatch reliability of the new aircraft. They will give us one and a half times the capability. We shall retain operational control 24/7 and we are very pleased with this comprehensive integrated service solution that includes logistics support and new hangars at RAF Brize Norton as it becomes the RAF’s single airport of embarkation when assets move there from RAF Lyneham."

Since June 2007 the Department has been working with AirTanker to raise the necessary private sector funding. Despite the current turbulence in the world's financial markets, AirTanker has successfully secured the necessary funding.

The FSTA fleet will customarily carry a minimum of 80 tonnes (100,000 litres) of aviation fuel per aircraft roughly equivalent to the capacity of 2,500 Mini Cooper petrol tanks (at 40 litres each).

The total fuel dispensing rate from the aircraft is approximately 5,000 litres/min or about 80 litres per second. The wing pods alone refuel twice as fast as an F1 pit stop. Using all three refuelling points, you could fill 125 Mini Coopers a minute – more than two a second.

Source: MOD -


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