France Eyes Lease for 14 A330 MMRT

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    France Eyes Public-Private Lease for Tanker

    By PIERRE TRAN
    Published: 29 Sep 2011

    PARIS - The French government is leaning toward a public-private partnership (PPP) lease deal to acquire a fleet of 14 multirole tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft, a Defense Ministry official said Sept. 29.

    Talks are being held on the basis of a lease and a traditional purchase, said Hughes Bied-Charreton, director of financial affairs for the secretary-general for the administration.

    With a PPP, lease payments would smooth out and help absorb the MRTT acquisition cost, he said.

    A decision could be made earlier, but an order would not be made before 2013, which would mean a tight timetable for delivery in 2017, Bied-Charreton said.

    The French Air Force is keen to acquire the new aircraft because the fleet of Boeing C-135 FR tankers is about 40 years old.

    The tanker acquisition could cost 2.4 billion euros ($3.26 billion), at a unit price of 175 million euros, based on Australian and British purchases of the Airbus A330 MRTT, according to the business magazine Challenges.

    The Libya campaign showed that in-flight refueling was a French capability gap because of the age of the fleet, Adm. Edouard Guillaud, the chief of the Defense Staff, told the summer defense university conference.

    France has been discussing, as a temporary measure, a pooling of the 14-strong fleet of A330 MRTT jets acquired under lease for the British Royal Air Force's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft program.The A330 MRTT is a military conversion of the A330 commercial airliner.

    France Eyes Public-Private Lease for Tanker - Defense News
     
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