UK Royal Air Force Air-to-Air Refueling Payback Clause Exposed
20:03 16.03.2017(updated 20:06 16.03.2017)
The UK Ministry of Defense has agreed to compensate the company proving air-to-air refueling for the Royal Air Force (RAF) if its aircraft take on board more fuel from foreign air forces than its tankers provide to foreign aircraft, it has been revealed.
Air Tanker Limited is the company that provides the RAF with air-to-air refueling, using a fleet the largest aircraft in the RAF's fleet, Voyager, which is a derivative of the proven Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft.
The fleet of 14 aircraft refuel fighter aircraft from the RAF and form other foreign air forces, in the same way RAF aircraft will refuel from foreign tankers.
However, it has been revealed by defense publishing company Jane's that an "exclusivity clause" exists in the contract between the UK Ministry of Defense and Air Tanker, that the MoD must pay compensation to Air Tanker if the RAF takes on more fuel from foreign tankers than Voyager tankers pass to foreign aircraft.
AirTanker is the joint venture appointed in 2008 to deliver RAF Voyager, the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) contract. It is made up of leading aerospace, defense and facilities management specialists Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Babcock.
AirTanker Limited holds the contract with the Ministry of Defense and contracts AirTanker Services to deliver the program. Airbus Military, Cobham, Rolls Royce, Thales and Babcock also form AirTanker Services' primary supply chain, with responsibility for supporting the delivery of infrastructure and its maintenance throughout the lifetime of the 27-year service contract to 2035.
The company took delivery of the 14th Voyager, July 2016, and has accomplished over 10,000th flights since the first Voyager took to the skies in April 2012 operating for the Royal Air Force. The Voyagers can be retro-converted back to standard Airbus 330 passenger configurations and leased out to charter airlines when not required as tankers.
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