Thu, Jun 07, 2007
Fundraising Efforts Have Already Commenced
England's Defense Minister Lord Drayson announced Wednesday the
government had approved a Private Finance Initiative solution as
the most cost-effective way of replacing the Royal Air Force's
aging fleet of VC10 and TriStar aircraft, with Airbus
The Ministry of Defense is in the process of tying up
contractual loose ends to close the FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker
Aircraft) PFI deal with winning bidder AirTanker Ltd., according to
the Ministry of Defense.
The company announced Wednesday it has already begun work on
raising the nearly $4 billion in necessary capital by putting the
word out to the banking community. According to its website,
AirTanker is a company "dedicated exclusively to providing FSTA" to
the UK MoD.
"FSTA will provide the RAF
with a modern air-to-air refueling and strategic air transport
capability which is crucial in this era of expeditionary
operations. It will replace the RAF's fleet of VC10 and TriStar
aircraft. A PFI solution is the best way to provide our Armed
Forces with significantly improved capability," Lord Drayson said.
"The Ministry of Defense and AirTanker Ltd will now work together
to secure financial and contractual close on a PFI deal as quickly
The FSTA project is designed to modernize the RAF's air
transport and air-to-air refueling capability by replacing its
existing fleet of decades-old VC-10 and TriStar aircraft. FSTA will
be provided through a 27-year PFI contract.
The 14 A330-200s will be owned and supported by AirTanker with
the RAF in complete operational control. The first aircraft will
enter service in 2011. The balance of the fleet will become
available to the RAF over the following five years.
"This announcement represents an enormous step forward in this
vital program for the RAF and UK defense. Air-to-air refueling and
strategic airlift are fundamental to the UK's expeditionary
capability and FSTA is a crucial part of that," said Air Chief
Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff.
"Although our current fleets of VC10 and Tristar aircraft are
doing a superb job, both fleets are coming towards the end of their
useful lives. I am, therefore, delighted that this key milestone
has been achieved, and I look forward to getting the new aircraft
and facilities into service as soon as possible."
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