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12 Nov 03. BAE Systems and Boeing have signed a collaboration agreement for the design, development, supply, and support of air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft based on the Boeing 767 aircraft platform, helping to secure significant numbers of high-value jobs and skills in the UK.

The Memorandum of Understanding applies to the current UK programme for the future provision of replacement tanker aircraft, as well as existing programmes in the United States, Japan, and Italy. The MOU also applies to all future programmes globally and potential growth into other large platforms. Both BAE Systems and Boeing are part of TTSC, the Tanker Team.

Mike Turner, Chief Executive, BAE Systems said, “The bid put forward by TTSC will deliver the best capability for the UK forces, in terms of interoperability and flexibility of usage in concert with the US, as well as securing jobs, skills, and work for many years to come.”

“The global market has already overwhelmingly made its decision with the Boeing 767 having been selected by the United States, Japan and Italy. This is why BAE
Systems decided to team with Boeing to the benefit of the UK’s defence industrial base. Today’s MOU will therefore deliver very long term substantial benefits if the UK now selects the Boeing aircraft.”

Jim Albaugh, President and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, commented: “A significant market for tankers exists world-wide. We are excited about making Britain’s aerospace industry part of our global tanker team. Today,s announcement is firm evidence of Boeing,s commitment to the UK and support of high value engineering jobs, as well as Boeing,s close working relationship with BAE Systems.”

Comment: This could be the knockout blow for TTSC to secure its place in the driving seat for FSTA. TTSC also announced a strong banking team this week to manage this huge PFI contract. AirTanker has been claiming that an FSTA win would create a centre of excellence for Air Refuelling to rival Boeing, but this deal would appear to cement the long standing history of co-operation between Boeing and BAE, which is crucial for major parts of the aviation industry’s export potential

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