The MOD’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme, run through a Private Finance Initiative, reached a key milestone recently, with the delivery of the 14th, and final, specially modified A330-200. Mott MacDonald has in recent years provided a range of technical and commercial due diligence services and continues to provide monitoring and change management review services for the project.
To support the RAF with aircraft designed to provide air-to-air refuelling and air transport capability, the MoD, rather than purchase the equipment outright, opted for a Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft PFI deal, valued at £10.5 billion over 27 years, sees the AirTanker consortium provide the capacity on an as needed, contract, basis. The members of the AirTanker consortium include Babcock, Cobham, Airbus Group, Rolls-Royce and Thales. The agreement provides AirTanker the freedom to provide other clients with some of the air capacity services, most notably other European air forces. Nonetheless, the RAF always retains “first call” on aircrafts.
AirTanker procured fourteen A330-200 aircrafts for the mission, with the final plane recently delivered at RAF Brize Norton airfield. Nine of the aircrafts are part of the RAF core capacity, while five others represent ‘surge capacity’, allowing them to be implemented within a wider context than core services, such as civil leasing sectors.
As part of the due diligence process for the project, Mott MacDonald was hired. The firm has worked on the project since 2005, throughout the pre-financial close phase (2008) of the project, offering a range of transaction advisory services – including technical and commercial due diligence. The engineering and consulting firm has continued to provide a number of services to the project, including the monitoring of key project milestones, as well as providing independent scrutiny for assurance and risk assessments of the project and proposed changes.
Mott MacDonald will provide ongoing services to the contract, which runs until 2035, including operational monitoring and assurance of the FSTA service and civil leasing operations. In addition, the firm will provide regular strategic change assessments and asset assessments.
Patrick Clarke-Fortune, Mott MacDonald’s Project Director, says, “We are proud of our long-standing involvement in FSTA or Voyager as it is also known. The project is a success story where our contributions have been integral and represents major defence capability delivered on time and to budget, which is applauded by the UK MOD for meeting increased frontline commitments. We look forward to the continued success of Voyager.”