The UK and France are in talks to share the cost of the £10.5bn ($15bn) deal to provide refuelling tankers for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

EADS chief executive Louis Gallois told the Financial Times that under the proposal the UK would offload some of the 14 tankers it is buying to France, as France is considering renewing its own tanker fleet.

The proposed deal will help the UK cut the cost of leasing the aircraft under the current private finance initiative (PFI), according to Gallois.

Under the 27-year PFI contract, the AirTanker consortium will lease the modified Airbus A330-200s to the UK MoD.

The multibillion-pound programme has suffered from delays and has been criticised for being too expensive.