PARIS — European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said Jan. 7 that it has won a tender to supply India with six A330 air refueling tankers, a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion (770 million euros).
“We are pleased to confirm that we were selected by the Indian government following its tender for air refueling tankers,” said a spokesman for Airbus Military, the group’s defense division. The spokesman declined to comment on the deal’s value, which would have a catalogue price of $1.25 billion to $1.38 billion.
Airbus still has a way to go before it can take a signed contract to the bank, however, as the development opened the door to a long process of negotiations between Delhi and the aircraft manufacturer. As an example, the French company Dassault Aviation was chosen by India in January 2012 to supply 126 Rafale combat jets, but that deal has yet to be finalized.
Airbus had already won a bid to build air refueling tankers for India, moreover, but that deal was canceled owing to irregularities in the tender process. This time around, Airbus was competing head-to-head with the Russian group Ilyushin, which has already supplied aircraft to India. If the Airbus contract with India is finalized, it would mark the sixth country to buy or say it will buy the tankers. The others are Australia, Britain, France, United Arab Emirates and SaudiArabia.
An industry source said that India might need many more than just six of the planes, meanwhile. The A330 MRTT (multirole tanker transport) can supply two aircraft with fuel at the same time, and in the configuration now being used by the Australian air force, can carry 111 tons of fuel, 37 tons of material and 270 passengers