Lockheed Martin and Airbus have signed an agreement to jointly explore opportunities to meet the growing demand for aerial refuelling for US defence customers.

The companies will seek to provide aerial-refuelling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of the future battlespace.

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) will be used to examine a broad spectrum of opportunities, from ways to support critical near-term air-refuelling needs, such as a fee-for-service structure, to conceptualising the tanker of the future.

“Reliable and modernised aerial refuelling is an essential capability for our customers to maintain their global reach and strategic advantage,” said Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson. “By combining the innovation and expertise of Airbus and Lockheed Martin, we will be well positioned to provide the United States Air Force and allies around the world with the advanced refuelling solutions needed to meet 21st century security challenges.”

Tom Enders, Airbus CEO, commented: “The US Air Force deserves the best aerial-refuelling technology and performance available under the sun and this great industry team, Lockheed Martin and Airbus, will offer exactly that.”

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