SOURCE: EADS North America

March 27, 2008 12:00 ET

EADS Tankers to Serve the UK's Royal Air Force in Aerial Refueling and Transport Missions

The U.K.'s Fleet of 14 A330-200 Tankers Will Offer Operational Commonality With U.S. Air Force KC-45As

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - March 27, 2008) - The United Kingdom today finalized its agreement for EADS' A330-200 multi-role tanker/transports, signing a 27-year contract to deploy a modern fleet based on the same aircraft chosen by the U.S. Air Force for its KC-45A.

Under terms of this agreement, the Royal Air Force will be provided the services of 14 A330-200 Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) from AirTanker, the EADS-led industrial consortium, which are to be based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England.

The Royal Air Force's A330-200 uses the same modern airframe as Northrop Grumman's KC-45 Tanker selected by the U.S. Air Force, as well as by Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their next-generation aerial refueling and military airlift needs.

"The competitive selection of the A330 multi-role tanker by the U.S.'s closest ally definitively demonstrates the superiority of this system over its competitor, the KC-767," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., Chairman and CEO of EADS North America.

"The low-risk, highly capable solution offered by EADS' A330-200 multi-role tanker/transport has been validated once again with its selection by a major U.S. ally-consolidating EADS' global leadership in aerial refueling aircraft," said EADS North America Tankers CEO John H. Young, Jr. "The A330-200s operated for the Royal Air Force will become one of the world's largest new-generation tanker fleets, while also creating significant industrial and operational commonality with the U.S. Air Force's KC-45A."

In a previous announcement approving the program, the U.K. Minister of Defense praised the A330-based multi-role tanker: "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."

Entering service beginning in 2011, the Royal Air Force A330-200s will provide a quantum leap in reliability, performance and economy, supplying approximately twice the refueling capability of its current VC-10 and TriStar aerial tankers.

As with the U.S. Air Force's KC-45A, the fuel load for flight and aerial refueling operations will be carried in A330-200's normal fuel tanks, leaving the cabin free for transporting up to 290 passengers. The aircraft's under-floor cargo holds will accommodate equipment and supplies up to a maximum total payload of 44 metric tons. With no reconfiguration required (other than for specialist medical evacuations), the Royal Air Force A330-200 tankers can be assigned quickly to a wider range of missions than the existing fleet, significantly enhancing fleet productivity.

About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)

EADS North America is the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 190,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 31 cities and 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.

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