The Royal Air Force Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Voyager fleet reached a major milestone on Thursday 30 July with the acceptance of all nine current aircraft within the RAF fleet. The aircraft, managed by AirTanker, includes eight fully military converted aircraft and one aircraft in civil configuration, flown by AirTanker.
A ceremony took place in AirTanker’s hangar at RAF Brize Norton, where the Voyager fleet is flown by 10 and 101 squadron crews. The Voyager fleet amassed close to 14,000 flight hours since operations began in December 2012. Over a quarter of a million passengers were flown to destinations worldwide, including Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands.
Voyager is now cleared to refuel Tornado and Typhoon fighter aircraft, plus C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. An RAF Voyager also recently and successfully supported the Airbus A400M ‘Atlas’ test program in Spain. Earlier at the Farnborough International Airshow in July, UK Minister for Defence Philip Dunne, confirmed that the Voyager program was delivered on time and within budget.
Another five Voyager aircraft are on order, and these will form the ‘surge’ fleet; they are available for lease to airlines, but can be reverted to military roles quickly if need. In June, AirTanker announced the future lease of one of these aircaft to Thomas Cook Airlines.
Only last May, Airheadsfly.com got the inside look of AirTanker and Voyager operations. Read all about it here.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest