Airbus Military expects to secure a fresh batch of orders for its A330-based multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) before the end of this year, with contracts to potentially be agreed with at least two new operators.
"We have a second wave of new tanker contracts, and a high probability to secure the majority of them in 2013," Rafael Tentor, head of programmes for light and medium aircraft and derivatives, said during a briefing at Airbus Military's San Pablo site in Seville, Spain on 29 May.
Current users of the A330 MRTT include the Royal Saudi Air Force
The European company will table a best and final offer for a six-aircraft requirement in Singapore on 30 May, Tentor says. Further details of the bid are not being disclosed at this stage of the competition, which also involves the Boeing 767-based KC-46, in development for the US Air Force.
Also on 30 May, Airbus Military will present a "binding offer" to France for a fleet of between 12 and 14 three-point tankers, Tentor says. France would become the first MRTT customer to receive A330s equipped with a cargo door, also enabling the type to carry freight loads on its upper deck, he adds.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is expected to soon clear its planned purchase of an initial six A330 tankers, with Tentor saying that all documentation has now been agreed with the customer. A contract could be received as soon as September, but "within the year-end most likely," he adds, with the Indian air force order also to include options for additional examples.
Longer-term, Tentor also believes the A330 will be a candidate for the USAF's future KC-Y tanker requirement. "We will be there; we will play the match," he says. Other potential sales targets for the MRTT cited by the company include Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Oman, along with possible repeat sales to Australia and Saudi Arabia.
Fourteen A330 MRTT aircraft are currently operation with the air forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the United Arab Emirates, says Tentor, with this figure to increase to 17 before the end of 2013. Airbus Military will deliver its fifth Voyager tanker/transport to the UK on 29 May, with its sixth example to follow before the end of June.