AirTanker Limited has reached the operational phase of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) private finance initiative (PFI) project, with the successful achievement of the full service date (FSD) milestone on time and budget. Mott MacDonald is independent technical adviser to third party financiers of the programme.
FSTA, also known as Voyager, is being delivered by AirTanker Limited under a 27-year contract, which is the largest PFI of its kind in the defence sector. It covers the delivery of aircraft and all associated infrastructure, service and support up to 2035.
The fourteenth and final A330-200 aircraft arrived at RAF Brize Norton in July 2016 and final operational capability was confirmed in September 2016, demonstrating the delivery of the full capability requirements of the FSTA contract. The achievement of the FSD milestone is the culmination of the eight-year establishment of the FSTA service, which includes nine core aircraft supporting UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) operations and the delivery of five surge aircraft, which may also be used to support MOD operations and/or operate in civil leasing sectors.
Mott MacDonald has been involved with the FSTA programme since 2005 when it worked on the pre-financial close phase of the project, providing transaction advisory services. This included technical and commercial due diligence which supported a successful financial close. Since then, the consultancy has monitored the delivery of the programme throughout the establishment phase, been responsible for the independent certification of certain milestones and issuing acceptance and payment certificates for all establishment milestones. Mott MacDonald has also provided independent scrutiny for assurance and performed risk assessments of the project and proposed changes. The consultancy will now provide operational monitoring and assurance of the FSTA service and civil leasing operations and will undertake annual reviews of delivered assets while performing regular strategic change assessments.
Patrick Clarke-Fortune, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “We are proud of our long-standing involvement in FSTA or Voyager as it is also known. The project is a success story where our contributions have been integral and represents major defence capability delivered on time and to budget, which is applauded by the UK MOD for meeting increased frontline commitments. We look forward to the continued success of Voyager.”