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EADS-led AirTanker selected as Preferred Bidder for British Tanker Aircraft Programme

* AirTanker has satisfied the UK’s exacting requirements
* EADS is to become RAF's leading supplier of military transport aircraft
* AirTanker aircraft to be more than 50 per cent British by value
* Largest ever Defence Private Financing Initiative (“PFI”)
* EADS is backing further investment and growth of its UK defence business

London/Amsterdam, 28 February 2005

EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services, is to become the leading supplier of military transport aircraft to the RAF. On Monday, EADS welcomed the announcement by Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, that AirTanker has been selected as Preferred Bidder for Britain’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (“FSTA”) programme.

EADS CEO’s Philippe Camus and Rainer Hertrich commented: “Commitment to satisfying the customer’s requirements pays off. We – together with our partners Cobham, Rolls-Royce, Thales and VT Group – will be proud to provide the RAF with the very best in air-to-air refuelling capability. It is a crucial role and we are grateful for the trust placed in us by the UK.” The CEO’s added: “The British Government is well known to be a very demanding customer which requires the best for its highly respected armed forces. Our successes here and in Australia confirm the competitiveness of the A330-200 tanker offer and EADS’ ability to provide profitable customer-tailored financing schemes. This strong recognition will boost our efforts to meet similar requirements elsewhere in the world, particularly in the US.”

Considerable time and effort has been expended since the original announcement in January 2004 by the British Government that AirTanker offered the best prospect of providing a value-for-money PFI service for the FSTA programme. Defining in more detail the specification of this very large and unprecedented PFI has enabled agreement to be reached about many of the commercial and contractual aspects of the programme and produced its current advanced state of maturity. Reaching this significant milestone is a testament to the commitment of all those who have worked for AirTanker and its shareholders. Today's announcement means that AirTanker can now begin the final stage of contract negotiations and work on financing for this Private Finance Initiative.

The A330 FSTA will be more than 50 per cent British by value. The tankers will each be able to deliver 65 tonnes of fuel in their air-to-air refuelling role, at a distance of 1,000 miles from base, following up to two hours on station. Fuel can be offloaded through wing-mounted pods and hose-and-drogues. All of the fuel, including that consumed by the A330 FSTA itself, is carried entirely within existing tanks in the wing and tail. This leaves the whole cabin free for some 295 seats in the A330 FSTA’s troop-transport role, and its entire cargo hold free to carry military equipment on pallets or in containers.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2003, EADS generated revenues of € 30.1 billion and employed a workforce of about 109,000. The EADS Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and the joint venture MBDA, the second largest missile producer in the global market. EADS is the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium, is the prime contractor for the Ariane launcher, develops the A400M military transport aircraft and is the largest industrial partner for the European satellite navigation system Galileo.

In 2003, EADS total revenues in the UK were £1.7bn (representing approximately 9 percent of EADS’ total global sales). EADS’ order backlog in the UK is £12bn (representing 10 percent of EADS’ total backlog). EADS Employees in the UK number more than 14,000.

EADS Businesses in the UK include: Airbus UK (Broughton, Filton), EADS Astrium (Portsmouth, Stevenage, Poynton), Paradigm Secure Communications/Paradigm Services (Stevenage, Corsham), EADS Defence and Security Systems (Newport), EADS Operations & Services (Yeovil), MBDA (Stevenage, Bristol, Lostock), Eurocopter/ McAlpine Helicopters (Kidlington), Infoterra (Farnborough, Leicester), Racal Instruments (Ferndown). Major current EADS programmes include: Airbus A380, Airbus Military A400M, Eurofighter Typhoon, Skynet 5, Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA), Storm Shadow, Galileo, Cormorant, Joint UAV Evaluation Programme (JUEP)

Patrice Kreis
Tel.: +33 1 42 24 20 63

Rainer Ohler
Tel.: +49 89 60 73 42 35

Miguel Sanchez
Tel.: +34 91 5 85 77 89

Tel.: +44 20 7845 8419

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