§ Mr. Ingram
The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is planned to replace our VC10 and TriStar air-to-air refuelling aircraft. An Invitation to Negotiate for this potential PFI contract was issued to industry in December 2000. Bids were received from two consortia in July 2001 and we are currently in negotiations with both bidders. FSTA is planned to enter service in 2008 and is expected to be fully operational by 2012. The existing RAF refuelling fleet is made up of two aircraft 325W types comprising 19 VC10s and 6 TriStars. On current plans, the VC10s are due to go out of service by the end of the decade with the TriStars leaving service shortly afterwards. Precise dates can be amended, as necessary, to ensure a smooth transition to the new planned FSTA fleet.