AirTanker has delivered the seventh Voyager future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) to the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire, UK, as part of a contract.
Registered as ZZ337, the new aircraft joins five multi role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft, including four three-point capable and two two-point capable tankers at the airbase for use by the RAF.
One aircraft has been retained by AirTanker on the Civil Aircraft Register, and forms the basis of the company’s charter service.
AirTanker Services managing director David Mitchard said the arrival of ZZ337 represents the beginning of an intensive delivery programme that will see another two aircraft fly into RAF Brize Norton by the mid-point of the year.
”We are now delivering a significant proportion of the full service and have our foundation blocks in place but there is much more to do this year,” Mitchard said.
Around 14 Voyagers were ordered by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) from AirTanker under a 27-year, £10.5bn private finance initiative contract in March 2008.
The contract included the nine-aircraft core fleet and a five aircraft surge fleet capability, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 2015.
When not in military use, the surge fleet capability is available to AirTanker for release to the charter market, less its military equipment or to partner countries in a military capacity with the MoD’s agreement.
A derivative of Airbus Military’s A330 MRTT aircraft, the Voyager is designed to replace the RAF’s existing L-1011 and VC10 tanker/transport aircraft, which are approaching the end of their service life, for air transport and tanker operations.
The twin Rolls-Royce Trent 772B jet engine-powered aircraft are primarily operated by the service’s 10 Squadron.
Image: UK’s seventh Voyager future strategic tanker aircraft at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, UK. Photo: Crown ©.