Support: February 2, 2001


The British Royal Air Force knows it needs tanker aircraft, but has decided that rather than buy  them it will issue a $13.4 billion 25-year contract to a company that will buy, maintain, and fly tanker aircraft.  Four consortia are bidding on the deal, with various plans to buy Boeing or Airbus airframes and convert them into tankers. Just how this will work when the civilian tanker aircraft are needed to top off attack aircraft on the edge of a battle zone (and within range of Russian-made S300 and S400 missiles) is not clear.--Stephen V Cole


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