AirTanker – delivering the UK’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme
In March 2008, the UK Ministry of Defence and AirTanker Ltd signed the FSTA Contract to provide the RAF with an air transport and air-to-air refuelling capability over a 27-year period, including all associated support services. AirTanker Ltd holds the FSTA Contract with the Ministry of Defence and subcontracts work to AirTanker Services Ltd and EADS (Airbus-Military) as shown in the diagram below.
NB: For simplicity, this website uses ‘AirTanker’ when referring to both AirTanker Ltd or AirTanker Services Ltd in order to avoid confusion.
The FSTA programme
The FSTA programme will provide the Royal Air Force (RAF) with a reliable, safe and efficient air transport and air-to-air refuelling service over 24 years (the first aircraft will be delivered towards the end of 2011). Using 14 new A330-200 aircraft – which already has an excellent track record in airline use – the FSTA programme will reduce overall running costs, significantly improve reliability and have less of an environmental impact than its predecessors.
This programme will combine best practice from civil aviation with RAF operational expertise and military ethos to create a most efficient and effective operational solution for the RAF. It is an exciting and ambitious programme, which will take collaboration between the MoD and industry to a new level.