As KC-X rumbles on, UK signs for A330 tanker as FSTA

It’s not really the same situation, but the UK has today finally signed on the dotted for the EADS-supplied, Airbus A330-based Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. It’s buying a princely 14 of them from the Airtanker consortium. But the contract is worth £13 billion ($26 billion) because of the way it’s structured.It feels like a long time ago now, but the losing bid was led by BAE Systems and Boeing offering the 767. It’s important to point out that there were many differences from the US requirement – notably that the transport capability was absolutely fundamental to the spec from day one. And also that the private/public financing structure led to endless nuances in the financial comparisons.

EADS claims more than 50% UK-content by value – but there’s no comparison with KC-X because of the Rolls-Royce engines and UK suppliers of just about every other element anyone could think of.

AirTanker press release here. UK Ministry of Defence press release here.

Most recent of several Pprune threads here.

EADS says that makes five tanker wins on the trot. The next contest is in KC-135-operating France. The outcome is anybody’s guess!

This all means the end of the VC-10, of which I have fond memories.

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