RAF Voyager and Typhoon have completed more than 350 contacts, part of a rapid build-up of capability in the Voyager programme in support of air defence and air transport roles.
RAF Voyager and Typhoon have
completed more than 350 contacts, part of a rapid build-up of
capability in the Voyager programme in support of air defence and
air transport roles.
Voyager was given the green light from the Ministry of Defence
to begin air-to-air refuelling (AAR) operations with Typhoon in
late May, with a formal Release to Service (RTS) on August 15.
Having carried out its first Typhoon towline on June 11, Voyager
and Typhoon have now completed more than 350 contacts, offloading
840 tonnes of fuel by the end of September 2013.
Phill Blundell, CEO of AirTanker, which is contracted to deliver
an air-to-air refuelling capability to the RAF by May 2014, said
that the Voyager programme was now making "very real progress".
He said: "RTS on Typhoon in the summer represented an important
step forward for Voyager, clearing the fast jet programme.
"Our service and the infrastructure is now there, while six of
the aircraft that make up the core nine-strong Voyager fleet, have
been delivered - we have a very tangible capability."
Voyager received the go-ahead to refuel the Tornado GR4 at the
beginning of summer. Combined with those figures for Typhoon,
Voyager has completed more than 70 air-to-air refuelling sorties,
giving away in excess of 2,300 tonnes of fuel.
GR4 refuelling with Voyager
A fully certified and militarily-converted Airbus A330-200,
multi role tanker transport MRTT, Voyager has a total fuel capacity
of 111 tonnes. This is delivered using standard A330-200 fuel tanks
without adaptation of its cargo hold to accommodate additional
In addition to its air-to-air refuelling role Voyager also has
capacity to carry up to 291 passengers with a cargo capability of
up to 8 NATO pallets or up to 43 tonnes. The aircraft can also be
configured to accommodate a 40 stretcher aeromedical evacuation
capability including critical care.
Since starting flying in support of UK military operations in
April 2012, military aircraft have together clocked more than 5,400
hours, flying more than 1,500 sectors, carrying more than 110,000
passengers and 6,300 tonnes plus of freight.
Voyager 02, which flies on the Civilian Aircraft Register, has
flown almost 1,200 hours and 300 sectors, carrying almost 30,000
passengers and more than 1,600 tonnes of freight, since the start
of AirTanker's civilian airline operation at the beginning of this
This capability was further enhanced this summer as AirTanker
received its Extended Twin (Engine) Operations (ETOPs) clearance
from the Civil Aviation Authority.
The award gives AirTanker's civilian airline operation greater
flexibility to take on long-range routes by permitting it to fly up
to 180 minutes from the nearest suitable airport. This is a
precursor for its role in support of the Falklands air bridge which
is AirTanker is currently scheduled to pick up in October.
Dave Mitchard, Managing Director AirTanker Services, said: "We
continue to make excellent progress in the delivery of service and
the build-up of capability.
"We have a first class aircraft and highly competent team,
pulled together from military and civil aviation and that's
allowing us to blend best practice from both."
For further information please contact:
Corporate communications manager
m. 07718 117050
Notes to editors
Agreed in March 2008, the Voyager programme represents a new
model for the procurement of large capital and infrastructure
projects and the services to support them.
It constitutes the supply of a core fleet of nine Voyager A330
aircraft (with surge capability on a further five aircraft) which
will provide a state-of-the-art air-to-air refuelling, air
transport and aero-medical evacuation capability, plus associated
service and support infrastructure over a 24 year contract period
up until 2035.
This is delivered by a pioneering mixed-manning programme that
embeds RAF personnel alongside Sponsored Reservists and civilian
staff, to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient service to UK
AirTanker, the consortium behind Voyager, is made up of leading
aerospace, defence and facilities management specialists, Cobham,
EADS, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Babcock. They also form its primary