Boeing confirms Algerian interest in tankers, transports


Boeing officials have confirmed that the Algerian air force is interested in acquiring transport and tanker aircraft, with a request for proposals (RFP) possible in the coming months. Earlier this year Algeria evaluated the C-17 and A330 MRTT but the country is also interested in surveillance and rotary wing aircraft.

Algeria in April this year undertook trials of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter and the following month evaluated the Airbus Military A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Transport Tanker). Paul Oliver, Vice President – Middle East and Africa, International Business Development at Boeing Defence, Space and Security told defenceWeb that Algeria is also interested in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets and has asked Boeing about its ScanEagle small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform.

While Algeria has not specified how many C-17s it would like to acquire, Oliver estimated the number at four to six aircraft. He said that for the Algerian demonstration earlier this year, Boeing leased a US military aircraft and flew it at several different locations over a few days, covering most of the aircraft’s flight envelope.

Unofficial sources say a C-17 from the US Air Force’s 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base in Washington was seen at the Tamanrasset test centre on April 22.

Algeria evaluated a Royal Air Force Airbus Military A330 MRTT in May and is reportedly interested in acquiring around three to replace its Ilyushin Il-78 Midas tankers. The timeline for their replacement is not clear – when Oliver told the Algerians that the Boeing KC-46 tanker would only be available for demonstrations in 2018, he said they were happy with that date.

No RFPs have yet been forthcoming from Algeria, but Oliver said he was confident that they would be issued either later this year or early next year. He added that Algeria is seen as a key market for the company.

Dennis Muilenberg, President and CEO of Boeing Defence, Space and Security agreed that Algeria is a key future market place for Boeing. He said the Algerians expressed interest in mobility as they are looking for aircraft to move cargo and provide humanitarian assistance. Consequently, Boeing sees opportunities in products like the C-17 and rotorcraft, such as the CH-47 Chinook. At the moment Boeing is trying to understand Algeria’s needs and infrastructure and is at the initial discussions stage.

Guy Martin is in the United States as a guest of Boeing.