PICTURE: UK's first FSTA A330 tanker gets Royal Air Force colours

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The first Airbus A330-200 for the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme has been painted in Royal Air Force colours, ahead of being delivered to Airbus Military's Getafe site near Madrid, Spain, for role-conversion work.

Pictured on 26 June at Airbus's Toulouse site in France carrying its manufacturer's civil registration, the aircraft is the first of 14 FSTA airframes to be produced. It made its first flight on 4 June.

 
© French Frogs Aviation Pictures

Structured as a 27-year private finance initiative deal, the UK's FSTA project, worth roughly £13 billion ($20.9 billion), will be delivered by AirTanker, a consortium comprising Cobham, EADS UK, Rolls-Royce, Thales UK and VT Group.

Deliveries are due to take place from 2011, with the modified A330s to replace the RAF's Lockheed TriStars and Vickers VC10s in delivering tanker/transport services.