The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


EADS welcomes the selection of AirTanker for final negotiations for the Royal Air Force's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft Programme

* Key partner in AirTanker team
* Largest Ever Defence Private Financing Initiative proposed
* EADS to continue expanding its defence business
* EADS to further underscore its strong position in UK with additional jobs and investment

Amsterdam / London, 26 January 2004

EADS welcomes the selection of AirTanker to take forward negotiations aimed at concluding a contract for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme, supplying A330-200 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport Aircraft) services to meet the Royal Air Force’s requirement for next generation tanker aircraft. With a 40 percent shareholding, EADS is the largest partner in AirTanker and responsible for the full integration of the aircraft.

AirTanker is set to become the industrial partner for the £13bn UK Ministry of Defence air-to-air refuelling programme, covering a 27 year service period. It would be the largest defence PFI (Private Financing Initiative) ever.

"The British armed forces are being offered air-to-air refuelling services with the best and most British aircraft available, the A330-200, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772B jet engines. EADS is committed to not only meeting but exceeding customer requirements," EADS CEOs Philippe Camus and Rainer Hertrich stated. "We are very grateful and proud of the confidence the RAF and the British Government are investing in Air Tanker and EADS. We are also well aware of the fact that once a contract is signed, we will be tasked with a crucial responsibility for UK forces' future mission success."

For EADS, this decision is of great strategic importance. It will reinforce the position of EADS as a trusted supplier to the British customer. In addition, the UK industrial base will benefit from future EADS tanker orders. EADS has taken the FSTA as its tanker baseline, creating and maintaining an important number of jobs in the UK and further developing the country’s air-to-air refuelling technology. Importantly, the decision is also a breakthrough in establishing global industrial competition in multi-mission military aircraft.

EADS highly appreciates the outstanding cooperation with its AirTanker partners Cobham, Rolls Royce, and Thales UK in the bidding process.

“EADS strongly believes that open competition, as was the case in the UK for this contract, ultimately serves the customer and the supplier best, in any market. We remain committed to fulfilling our customers’ needs and thereby successfully expanding our business,” Camus and Hertrich underlined.

The selection of the EADS-led AirTanker team is based on the outstanding performance of the Airbus A330-200, which is extremely successful in commercial markets. "It is the ideal platform to become the market leader for next generation tanker aircraft," said Francisco Fernández-Sáinz, President of the EADS Military Transport Aircraft Division. "The capability of Airbus to provide flexible and high quality platforms has been vital to the offering that ultimately convinced our British customer," underlined Fernández-Sáinz, also Head of Airbus’ Military Programmes.

Once negotiations have been concluded with the UK MoD, EADS anticipates that the contract will provide a secure long-term positive cash stream for the Group for many years to come. EADS will register revenues and profits on the delivery of the aircraft and from the operations/services. EADS will also receive a dividend stream as an AirTanker shareholder.

This is the second significant PFI contract for which EADS has competed. Early in 2002, Paradigm, a wholly-owned EADS company, was awarded the £ 2.5 bn contract for the Skynet 5 secure communications programme, which was signed in October 2003.

The selection of AirTanker highlights the success of EADS’ strategy to develop its Airbus military derivatives offering and provides a further boost to EADS’ strategic efforts to significantly expand its defence business. At the end of 2003, EADS’ defence order-book amounted to € 45 bn, placing EADS second in the global defence industry.

Only a month ago in Dresden, EADS celebrated the successful roll out of the first of the next generation strategic tanker aircraft. EADS will deliver two A310 MRTT aircraft to the Canadian Air Force and four to the German Air Force over the next two years. With air-to-air-refuelling either based on the A330-200 MRTT or the A310-300 MRTT, EADS is in a position to offer a family of superior, next generation tanker aircraft providing highest flexibility to air force customers.

AirTanker is a UK-based company bringing together aerospace world leaders in aircraft, engine and refuelling equipment manufacturing, avionics, mission systems and military service delivery (Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce and Thales UK). Final bids for the FSTA programme were submitted to the Defence Procurement Agency in August 2003 for aircraft due to enter service in 2008.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace and defence. The group registered revenues of € 29.9 bn in 2002 and has a workforce of more than 108,000 in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, the US and all around the world. EADS and its family of leading brands (Airbus, Eurocopter, EADS Astrium, MBDA, Eurofighter etc.) are market leaders in commercial aircraft, helicopters, defence technology, space, military transport and combat aircraft, as well as related services.

Diane Murphy, VP Communications
EADS North America
Tel.: (202) 776-0988

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias