The UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Voyager tanker has successfully demonstrated a large aircraft air-to-air refuelling (AAR) capability.

As part of the demonstration, Voyager carried out an AAR refuelling training sortie with C-130J Hercules.

It aimed to train the tanker in the complex operational processes required for refuelling an aircraft in the air, which is a crucial component of RAF flying operations.

RAF 101 Squadron officer commanding wing commander Udall said: “Voyager is usually known for refuelling fast jet aircraft, acting as a force multiplier through extending their endurance on task three-fold. 

“However, in the context of C-130J operations, Voyager is more likely to be used to extend range, allowing C-130J even greater reach without the need to land and refuel. 

“Training C-130J crews to safely receive fuel from Voyager remains as important now as ever.”

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RAF’s sole AAR refuelling tanker aircraft, Voyager serves as a force multiplier by refuelling and boosting the combat capability of other aircraft when needed. 

As a result, the timely refuelling allows the RAF fighter jets, including the F-35B and Eurofighter Typhoon, to increase their time-on-task or a range to perform missions.

With the AAR process, larger aircraft such as Hercules C130J and Atlas A400M can support airdrops and various humanitarian missions.

Recently, Hercules conducted multiple sorties to drop supplies onto the Sky-Blu Field Station in Antarctic, as part of the exercise Austral Endurance.

The sorties were supported by RAF’s Voyager tanker aircraft.

Last month, Voyager conducted a training exercise to refuel Qatar Emiri Air Force’s (QEAF) Rafale fast jets.