Lockheed Martin and Airbus will jointly explore opportunities to meet the aerial refuelling needs of US defence customers.
The companies said they would seek to provide these refuelling services to address identified capacity shortfall and meet requirements for the next generation of tankers operating in future battlespace.
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport will be the main focus of the agreement, as they consider a wide range of opportunities.
“The A330 MRTT has been selected by a dozen nations around the world. It is extensively proven in live operations and has been repeatedly praised by major air forces," Airbus Defence and Space head of military aircraft Fernando Alonso said.
"We are convinced that the combination of Airbus’ tanker expertise with Lockheed Martin’s extensive US presence, has the potential to provide highly effective solutions for current and future US military aerial refuelling requirements.”
The opportunities can vary between ways to support critical near-term refuelling needs, such as a fee-for-service structure, to conceptualising the "tanker of the future".
“Reliable and modernised aerial refuelling is an essential capability for our customers to maintain their global reach and strategic advantage,” said Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO Marillyn Hewson.
“By combining the innovation and expertise of Airbus and Lockheed Martin, we will be well positioned to provide the United States Air Force and allies around the world with the advanced refuelling solutions needed to meet 21st century security challenges.”
The companies said they would combine to "field a strong team to address future air refuelling needs".
“Airbus is an industry leader in the aerial refuelling area, and Lockheed Martin is known for cutting-edge defensive technologies and capabilities,” said Michele Evans, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
“This is a great opportunity for our two companies to combine our expertise – co-operating to develop world-class solutions for critical needs around the world.”