Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to provide aerial refueling services for current and future tankers.
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport will be the primary airframe for the program, Lockheed Martin said on Tuesday.
Aerial refueling is a large contract with fierce competition between firms like Lockheed, Boeing, Airbus and others. The U.S. Air Force has the most extensive fleet of aerial tanker aircraft in the world and often assists allied nations in joint operations.
"Reliable and modernized aerial refueling is an essential capability for our customers to maintain their global reach and strategic advantage," Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin's chairman, president and CEO, said in a press release.
"By combining the innovation and expertise of Airbus and Lockheed Martin, we will be well-positioned to provide the United States Air Force with the advanced refueling solutions needed to meet 21st century security challenges."
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport is an aerial tanker aircraft based on the Airbus A330. The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force, British Royal Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force and others.
It is capable of carrying over 140,000 pounds of aviation gas while staying airborne for many hours depending on the fuel and cargo load.