Based at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the RAF's TriStar inventory comprises six K/KC1 tankers (one pictured below) and three C2 transports. These will be replaced by the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft fleet of 14 modified Airbus A330s from 2011, along with its 14 Vickers VC10 tankers.
© Global Ranger/AirSpace
To cover the provision of engineering and maintenance services, the new TriStar Integrated Operational Support (TRIOS) arrangement is similar to an existing logistics deal under which Marshall serves as prime contractor in supporting the RAF's Lockheed Martin C-130J/K tactical transports.
Formally announced on 29 October at Marshall's Cambridge airport site, the TRIOS deal was awarded on a non-competitive basis, due to "technical and proprietary considerations", says the Ministry of Defence. The contract also includes Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, which will perform heavy maintenance and modification work, and Canadian spares supplier Flight Support Services.
Separately, the MoD has announced its intention to award Marshall a sole-source contract worth between £10 million ($16.2 million) and £20 million to design, manufacture and install a fuel tank inerting system for the RAF's TriStar C2 transports. These are now used to support the service's strategic airbridge with Afghanistan and Iraq.