Now Airbus will work with Lockheed and go after the next possible aircraft and refueling service orders. It is banking on the international success of its A330-based Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which has been selected by 12 countries, including Australia, Britain and South Korea.
The aircraft is already refueling or capable of refueling most major U.S. combat airplanes, including the stealthy F-35.
The U.S. Air Force, which wants to ultimately replace its entire fleet of over 400 tankers, is examining ways to meet growing demand for aerial refueling with possible fee-for-service arrangements, purchases of hundreds of additional aircraft, and the future development of a stealthy tanker.
Senior executives from Airbus and Lockheed agreed in Madrid to jointly explore all those opportunities, but are still working on details of their future cooperation, according to sources familiar with the matter.
What could possibly go wrong?