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12 March 2009
12. March 2009 Commercial Aircraft

First wingset is produced for the UK Royal Air Force's fleet of A330-based aerial tankers

Summary

The initial wingset for the UK Royal Air Force's fleet of A330-based Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) has been built by Airbus at its Broughton, England facility. Once outfitted with their control surfaces in Germany, the wings will be sent to the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France for installation on the first FSTA.

Airbus has built the first set of wings for a fleet of A330-based Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) that will be operated in support of the UK Royal Air Force's military aerial refuelling and airlift missions.

The wings were transported from Airbus' Broughton, England facility to Bremen, Germany, where they are being equipped with their control surfaces. Once outfitted, the wings will then be sent to the Airbus final assembly line for installation on the first FSTA.

Based on the popular A330-200 commercial jetliner, the FSTA will serve as a multi-role platform - using deployable hose systems for the in-flight refuelling of military aircraft, as well as carrying troops, cargo and other material.

A total of 14 FSTAs will replace the UK's current fleet of ageing tanker/transports, with the new aircraft owned and supported by the AirTanker consortium.

The FSTA is part of Airbus' family of A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) being developed and produced by Airbus for military customers around the world. Initial A330 MRTTs already have been built for the Royal Australian Air Force, and other countries ordering the aircraft are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - in addition to the UK. The A330 MRTT also was selected by the U.S. Air Force for a modernisation of its tanker and airlift assets, with a final competition for this major order anticipated in the future.

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