May 30, 2014

Latest Voyager arrival completes 'core' fleet for RAF

The ninth Airbus A330 Voyager from the UK’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme touched down at the Royal Air Force’s Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire on 29 May, completing the service’s “core” fleet of the type.
Flown to the RAF’s air transport hub from Airbus Defence Space’s Getafe modification centre near Madrid, Voyager ZZ338 will begin operations once transferred to the UK military aircraft register.
Eight converted Voyagers have now been delivered to Brize Norton for use by the service’s 10 and 101 squadrons, including five three-point tanker/transports and two equipped with under-wing pods only. The ninth – currently unmodified – example is operated by AirTanker and retained on the UK civil aircraft register. All of the aircraft are configured with a 291-seat, single-class passenger cabin, and are capable of carrying a maximum fuel load of 111t.
Since entering use, the UK’s Voyagers have been flown for a combined 9,750h, and have transported more than 172,000 passengers. In the air-to-air refuelling role the fleet has completed over than 230 sorties and delivered in excess of 400t of fuel, supporting types including the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornado GR4s.
In addition to supporting quick reaction alert activities with Typhoons in the UK and the Falkland Islands, the Voyager fleet is also currently supporting testing of the RAF’s future tactical transport.ZZ334, a three-point tanker, has completed the military conversion programme and is currently in Spain as part of the UK’s commitment to support the Airbus A400M flight test programme.
A further five Voyagers will be delivered by the end of 2016.

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