[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 13:01 GMT
EADS closes in on RAF tanker deal
Airbus A330-200
EADS plans to convert Airbus aircraft into RAF refuelling tankers
The UK government has named a European consortium as its preferred bidder for a 13bn ($25bn; 19bn euro) contract to build refuelling aircraft for the RAF.

The AirTanker group, led by European defence giant EADS, includes British firms Rolls-Royce and Cobham.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the government would now "move on with the negotiations on the contract".

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funded project is the biggest so far undertaken by the Ministry of Defence.

Under the PFI scheme, the private sector will own and maintain the refuelling tankers on behalf of the RAF.

The decision is expected to safeguard thousands of jobs in the UK.

'Best solution'

AirTanker plans to use 15 to 20 Airbus A330-200 planes to refuel RAF fighter jets and military planes.

EADS owns 80% of Toulouse-based Airbus, with Britain's BAE Systems owning the remaining 20%.

Mr Hoon last year described AirTanker's proposal as "the best prospective solution for the armed forces, the taxpayer and UK industry".

When not in use for refuelling, the tankers would be converted to passenger planes or used for military transport purposes.

The PFI project is expected to run for 27 years, with the first tanker coming into service in 2010.

EADS 'ready' for US air force bid
23 Nov 04 |  Business
Airbus' 13bn MoD deal under fire
22 Jun 04 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific