Showing posts with label Voyager. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Voyager. Show all posts

13 March, 2024

RAF Voyager operates with Swedish and US fighters over Scandinavia.

Royal Air Force Voyager tanker has successfully refuelled Swedish Gripen fighters taking part in NATO’s biggest exercise in decades.

The tanker was operating from RAF Lossiemouth in northern Scotland when it rendezvoused with the Swedish jets and United States Marine Corps F-35Bs, over the Arctic Circle.

Normally based at RAF Brize Norton, the Voyager flew sorties from Lossiemouth on Exercise Nordic Response, part of Exercise Steadfast Defender.

The Royal Air Force and Swedish Air Force have been increasing cooperation in recent months. This latest exercise saw dogfighting fighters refuel over Sweden, in the run-up to the country’s NATO accession. Steadfast Defender is demonstrating NATO’s ability to reinforce the Euro-Atlantic area during a simulated emerging conflict across the maritime, land, air, space and cyber domains.

Voyager is the RAF’s sole air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tanker and also operates as a strategic air transport.  The aircraft is in service as the Voyager KC.Mk 2, equipped with two underwing pods for refuelling fast jets, and as the Voyager KC.Mk 3, with an additional centreline hose for use by large aircraft. 

17 April, 2023

RAF Voyager refuels mid-air with Sustainable Aviation Fuel......

The Royal Air Force has successfully completed a Voyager air-to-air refuelling flight, powered by an approximately 43% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Voyager aircraft powered by 43% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flies over North Sea.
The aircraft used a blend of traditional fossil fuels and SAF such as cooking oil.
Flight marks the launch of a new aviation Net Zero Carbon roadmap for commercial aviation.


An RAF Voyager aircraft

Flying from RAF Brize Norton, over the North Sea and via Farnborough on its return home, the Voyager aircraft also undertook air-to-air refuelling with Typhoons, as part of planned training.

Made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, SAF reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel and will be key to reducing the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and fossil fuels, while improving operational resilience.

This significant moment follows a series of recent milestones achieved by the RAF towards a sustainable aviation future, including the world first RAF Voyager flight fuelled by 100% SAF.

Defence Minister, Baroness Goldie said:  "Greater use of alternative and sustainable fuel can only lead to positive outcomes for Defence, the United Kingdom, and our collective endeavour against climate change.
This is not an easy undertaking by the RAF, but time and again we see that by working collaboratively with our partners across industry we can achieve crucial transformation."

Part of a two-day industry led conference – Sustainable Skies World Summit - the flight marks the UK aviation industry publishing its updated aviation Net Zero Carbon roadmap outlining how commercial aviation will become more sustainable and commercially viable.

The annual event, hosted at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, brings together various partners from industry to showcase the latest developments in sustainable aviation technology and support efforts moving towards the implementation phase of meeting its net zero commitment.

Supporting the RAF’s ambitions to be Net Zero by 2040, the Voyager flight was part of an existing task from the Chief of the Air Staff to gather the required data to inform the longer-term transition away from fossil fuels.

The RAF has identified that using SAF and alternative aviation fuels will be critical for the future operational capability of the RAF and wider military aviation.

The UK’s SAF programme is already one of the most comprehensive in the world and supports our vision to set the UK up to be a global leader in the development, production, and use of SAF.

Supporting the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, new aviation technologies and fuels provide huge opportunities for economic growth, delivering jobs and prosperity across the country.

Chief of Staff Support and Chief Engineer, Air Vice-Marshal, Paul Lloyd said:
The continued success of sustainable aviation fuel is reassuring to see. If we are to achieve our net zero goal by 2040 then exploiting these technologies is going to be an enormous but worthwhile endeavour.

Despite the challenge, the benefits of reducing our reliance on traditional supply chains and fossil fuels outweigh it.

The RAF is proud to be leading in this area and I welcome the announcement introduction of commercial uses of SAF.

Providing increased reliability and range, the Voyager aircraft gives the RAF an enhanced capability in support of troop mobility, the movement of military assets, and supports UK air defence.

With a payload of 43 tonnes of freight and 291 seat passenger capacity, plus an aeromedical evacuation capability, Voyager also delivers flexibility in air mobility to the UK Armed forces in support of military and humanitarian operations.

During the two days of the Sustainable Skies World Summit, the Jet Zero Council (JZC) – a partnership between industry and government with the aim of delivering at least 10% SAF in the UK fuel mix by 2030 and zero emission transatlantic flight within a generation - will also meet. The Jet Zero Council is driving the ambitious delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions.

The SAF for the flight was sourced by International Airlines Group (IAG), and supplied by bp.

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19 November, 2022

Royal Air Force completes world-first sustainable fuel military transporter flight....................

Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright

The Royal Air Force,
Airbus and other industry partners have carried out the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight using an in-service military aircraft. It is also the first 100% SAF flight of any aircraft type carried out in UK airspace.

An RAF Voyager – the military variant of the Airbus A330 commercial jetliner - took to the skies above RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, on Wednesday powered completely by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel on both engines, paving the way for a range of possibilities for the future of flying military aircraft.

The flight was a joint endeavour between the RAF, aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support agency, British aircraft leasing company AirTanker and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, with the fuel supplied by Air bp.

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “True to our purpose of 'pioneering aerospace', we have gladly supported the Royal Air Force on this landmark sustainable-fuel test flight. I commend our UK customer for this achievement which helps pave the way for a sustainable reduction of carbon emissions of our military aircraft fleets. Airbus engineers have made a significant contribution to this RAF mission by providing on-the-ground expertise in recent weeks and securing the necessary MoD military flight permits.”

The Royal Air Force, Airbus and other industry partners have carried out the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight using an in-service military aircraft. It is also the first 100% SAF flight of any aircraft type carried out in UK airspace.
Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright

Sustainable Aviation Fuel – which is made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, in this case used cooking oil – reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to the conventional fuel it replaces, lessens the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and improves operational resilience by reducing the necessity for fuel resupplying.

As different approaches will suit different platforms and environments, a range of alternative fuel options are being looked at to ensure the UK is at the forefront of this developing technology.

The 90-minute return flight from RAF Brize Norton, flown by a combined Airbus, RAF and Rolls-Royce flight-test crew, replicated an air-to-air refuelling sortie and was witnessed by senior RAF and industry representatives. The RAF said it demonstrated the potential for its future operational capability, ensuring the ability to contribute to UK defence wherever and whenever it was required.

Baroness Goldie UK Defence Minister said:  "The Royal Air Force has flown the UK’s first military air transport flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel on one of their operational Voyager aircraft. They should be rightly proud of this achievement; it is a breakthrough moment for the RAF and an exciting development for the MOD.

Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright

Through the RAF’s pioneering spirit, expertise and partnership with UK industry, British science and engineering is leading the way in improving operational resilience and developing future operating capability in a climate-changed world."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston,  Chief of the Air Staff, commented:   "Climate change is a transnational challenge that threatens our resilience, our security and our collective prosperity. That is why I have set the RAF the ambitious challenge of becoming the world’s first net-zero Air Force by 2040. The way we power our aircraft will be key to meeting that challenge and the RAF is already thinking about how we will operate beyond fossil fuels.

This exciting trial flight of a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton powered entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel is an important milestone on that journey, and marks another technological first for the RAF alongside our industry partners."

Baroness Vere, Aviation Minister at the Department for Transport, said "Our Jet Zero Strategy made clear that sustainable aviation fuels are key to greener flight for both military and civilian aviation.

This is a win for the planet and a testament to British ingenuity. We have launched the £165 million Advanced Fuels Fund to kickstart a homegrown SAF industry, as well as challenging the sector to deliver the first net zero transatlantic flight next year."

Photo Royal Air Force / Crown Copyright
In addition to supporting the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the Armed Forces, the Royal Air Force Commander in Chief HM King Charles III has also supported an increase in its adoption in the private sector though the Sustainable Markets Initiative. The SMI is a network of global CEOs from across all industries, working together to accelerate a sustainable future in line with its mandate. Part of the SMI’s work is raising awareness of SAF amongst the business community and encourage greater SAF uptake in corporate travel in addition to increased purchase agreements to encourage demand from the public and private sectors.

12 July, 2022

RAF Voyager demonstrates large aircraft refuelling capability.....

Photo RAF / Crown copyright

A Royal Air Force Voyager has demonstrated an often forgotten capability, by carrying out an air-to-air refuelling training sortie with a C-130J Hercules.

The objective of the sortie was to provide training in the complex operational processes needed to refuel an aircraft in the air. The ability to do that is a key component of Royal Air Force flying operations. The Voyager is along with being a key element of strategic air transport for the RAF, it is also a duel role as the sole aerial refuelling aircraft meaning it is a true force-multiplier.

"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 the 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."

Wing Commander Udall
Officer Commanding 101 Squadron

Photo RAF / Crown copyright

The concept of a force-multiplier means that as an aircraft the Voyager has the capability to increase the combat potential of other aircraft by being able to refuel them when required.  This in turn allows RAF combat jets, such as the Typhoon and F-35B, the ability to increase their time-on-task or range to conduct operations.

Air to Air Refuelling, also however allows larger RAF aircraft, such as the Atlas A400M and Hercules C130J, the ability to support humanitarian missions and airdrops in austere or difficult locations.  A recent example being when an RAF Hercules deployed to the Falkland Islands to conduct Exercise Austral Endurance.  This exercise saw the Hercules conduct a number of sorties dropping supplies onto the Sky-Blu Field Station in the Antarctic.

Without the Voyager, the Hercules would not have been able to reach Palmer Land, home of Sky-Blu and drop these vital supplies. Other examples were the enabling of C-130J humanitarian airdrops onto Mount Sinjar in 2014, and long-range parachute insertions into Eastern Europe that have been carried out over the last few years.

Photo RAF / Crown copyright

RAF Voyagers also train to conduct Air to Air Refuelling with other partner nation’s fast jets, USN EA-18 Growler, French and Qatari Rafales together with Canadian CF-18’s, being examples of refuelling sorties carried out this year.  Most recently RAF Voyagers have been conducting AAR sorties with USMC F/A-18 Hornets as part of the NATO Air response in Eastern Europe to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Voyager, therefore, remains a vital component of the air-mobility fleet which gives the RAF the ability to enhance the delivery of air power worldwide.

28 May, 2021

RAF Voyager Squadron strengthens bonds with its Republic of Korea counterpart

Personnel from 261 Squadron of the 5th Air Mobility Wing Republic of Korea Air Force aim to share operating knowledge and support 101 Squadron RAF, on the Airbus Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft.

A twinning ceremony has taken place between the Royal Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force as the two Nations strengthen ties and share expertise.

Earlier in the year, 101 Squadron, who operate RAF Voyagers based at RAF Brize Norton, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with their Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) Counterparts, 261 Squadron of the 5th Air Mobility Wing ROKAF.  This accord aims to share know-how in operating the Airbus Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft, develop logistical and maintenance support and strengthen ties between the two Air Forces.

Both the UK and the Republic of Korea are like-minded and share similar views on many issues, including defence and security.  The longstanding partnership between the UK and Republic of Korea was established through cooperation during the Korean War and has continued to grow and is of ever-increasing modern significance.  Personnel exchanges and platform interoperability are key to the practical maintenance and growth of the defence relationship.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is another strong step forward together as the Republic of Korea and the UK collaborate and exchange best practice on operating the Airbus Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft.  101 Squadron of the Royal Air Force and 261 Squadron of the Republic of Korea Air Force have recently formalised this bond in recognition of their shared values, proud histories and many future years of partnership and friendship.  The Squadrons will host annual committees, taking turns to host the other Squadron and conducting in-depth discussions on the development of joint aerial refuelling drills, as well as on education, training, tactics, logistical support, safety and maintenance.”

Wing Commander Udall 
Officer Commanding 101 Squadron

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01 March, 2021

RAF Voyager delivers first consignment of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to British Forces Cyprus.

RAF Voyager delivers first consignment of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to British Forces Cyprus.

A Voyager from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire delivered the first consignment of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine today yesterday to RAF Akrotiri.

The first jabs will be given to Frontline Health Care workers and the most vulnerable members of British Forces Cyprus next week. The British Bases have confirmed that its vaccination programme will begin on 1st March with individuals falling into vulnerable groups offered the vaccine first.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was flown into RAF Akrotiri on Wednesday and will be administered in a phased process, following guidelines set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the UK. Officials at the Bases have confirmed those with a higher risk of contracting the virus, or individuals at greater risk of becoming seriously ill should they catch it, will receive the vaccine first.  This phase will include frontline healthcare workers, clinically vulnerable people and those over 50, with the second dose expected to be administered between four and 12 weeks later.

11 January, 2021

RAF Voyagers support French mission to Djibouti

On 6th January, the UK and French Air Forces flew a combined mission involving two RAF Voyager tankers escorting and refuelling four Armee de l’air Mirage 2000 fighters en route to Africa.

The Long-Range Projection mission to Djibouti was a real-life demonstration of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force Air Component’s (CJEF(Air)) capability to project aircraft long distance at pace.

Air Commodore Tim Below, Defence Attachรฉ, Paris said: “It's great to see French Mirage aircraft taking fuel from an RAF Voyager yesterday as they flew from France to a French air base in Africa. This mission clearly demonstrates the close Franco-British relationship and our ability to work together to rapidly project air power across the globe. In doing so we have both improved our techniques and validated our procedures to ensure we are ready to act as part of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.”

12 September, 2020

Naval aviators from the UK's Royal Navy are grappling with 50 fighters and bombers over the North Sea........

Photo  Royal Navy

Royal Navy aviators are grappling with 50 fighters and bombers over the North Sea to practice and hone combat skills before joining HMS Queen Elizabeth for autumn exercises.

Sea to hone combat skills before joining HMS Queen Elizabeth for autumn exercises.

Eighty years since the Battle of Britain reached its climax in UK skies, British, the US and Dutch jets have ‘joined battle’ for the latest Point Blank exercise.

British, American and Dutch F-35 stealth fighters shared airspace with RAF Typhoons, US Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles, F-16s and even mighty B-52 bombers, while RAF Voyagers and American KC-135 Stratotankers kept fuel tanks topped up to allow the dogfights to continue.
Photo  Royal Navy

03 July, 2020

RAF Typhoons Monitor Russian Aircraft with VIP Voyager

Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth have today been scrambled to monitor Russian long-range aircraft flying in international airspace north of Scotland.
Photo RAF / Crown copyright

On this occasion, the Russian aircraft, however, turned away as they approached the UK Flight Information Region (FIR), north of the Scottish coast and as such no interception was needed.

To support the Typhoons, a Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton was also launched to conduct Air to Air Refuelling.  This is standard procedure and allows the Typhoons to extend their time in the air.

The Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey MP said:  “Once again our RAF personnel have demonstrated their exceptional abilities to protect our skies, responding to provocation without hesitation.  The dangerous flying of Russian aircraft towards our air space is a clear reminder of the threats that we face as a nation on a daily basis.”

30 June, 2020

VIP RAF Voyager Returns to Operational Duties

Following the arrival of the RAF VIP Voyager to its base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, post the completion of its smart new paint scheme, the aircraft returned to its primary role supporting operational training today acting as a ‘petrol station in the sky’ offering Air-to-Air refuelling (AAR) to RAF Lightning and Typhoon fighters during Exercise CRIMSON OCEAN.
Newly painted RAF Voyager aircraft with Union Flag livery refuelling Typhoon and Lightning aircraft mid-air.
After several weeks of painstaking work, the Voyager was confirmed as being ready to undertake all operational roles including AAR and personnel transport alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. Taking off from RAF Brize Norton, the aircraft spent most of the day airborne to provide several refuelling stops for the fighters taking part in the joint RAF and Royal Navy exercise.

25 June, 2020

RAF Voyager aircraft used by The Royal Family and the Prime Minister get new paint job

Photo RAF
The RAF Voyager aircraft that is used by The Royal Family and the Prime Minister now has a bright new paint job.

The new livery, sporting a variation of the union flag on the tail, designed to better represent the UK when it flies overseas on official duties was completed by the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.

“Vespina” was now ready for its global role and will promote the UK around the world while transporting Ministers, senior members of the Royal Family and their delegations on trade, diplomatic and other missions.

After weeks of work, the Voyager returned to RAF Brize Norton where it will operate alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. Alongside its VIP Role, the aircraft remains certified for its original use, including Air-to-Air Refuelling and personnel transport. It can fly from and to almost any airport across the world that can take an Airbus A330, and its range allows it to reach much of the world without costly and time-consuming refuelling.