Airbus tanker in US contract battle wins certification
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said Wednesday its A330-MRTT re-fueling tanker, at the heart of a bidding battle with Boeing for a 35-billion-dollar US airforce contract, has won its military certification.
"The A330 MRTT has satisfactorily demonstrated its global military airworthiness and the maturity of all its systems and its full readiness to enter service with its customers," Airbus Military Managing Director Domingo Urena said.
The A330-MRTT is competing with a modified version of the B767 developed by US rival Boeing for a 35-billion-dollar (25-billion-euro) contract to supply the US Air Force with a new inflight re-fueling tanker.
Airbus, a unit of European aerospace giant EADS, has teamed up with more than 200 US suppliers to bid for the deal, which Airbus says will create 48,000 jobs.
The US Defense Department said in May it hoped to award the contract "this fall" and told the competing companies to be ready to start work on the aircraft by November 12.
The A330-MRTT received military certification from Spain's aerospace technical institute INTA and is now ready for flight, Airbus said.
Airbus explained that as there is no pan-European military certification body, certification by an appropriate national authority was needed.
© 2010 AFP