RAF Voyager ‘s re-spray, however controversial is complete. Costing an estimated £900k it didn’t go unnoticed by the media. Today though we have our equivalent to Air Force One. The aircraft now flies in Red, White and Blue.
Whether you feel the paint scheme should have gone ahead or not the aircraft is now available for trade missions worldwide. It does however have a day job.
What is the role of this aircraft
Voyager is the RAF’s sole air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tanker. The aircraft is in service as the Voyager KC.Mk 2, equipped with two underwing pods for refuelling fast jets. Voyager also is KC.Mk 3, with an additional centreline hose for use by large aircraft.
Fuel offloaded during AAR is taken from the aircraft’s standard wing and fuselage tanks. This leaves the cabin free for up to 291 personnel and the hold available for freight. As a tanker, capabilities include the ability to operate a ‘towline’, where the Voyager orbits around a prescribed area. Refuelling fast jets working over long ranges while taking responsibility for the formation’s fuel and navigation.
Alternatively, it can operate as a passenger aircraft in much the same way as a civilian airliner, but delivering personnel safely into theatre thanks to its defensive aids suite. It is this which allows it to operate for the UK government and the Royal Family. Keeping them safe whilst on trade and government missions around the world.
Voyager also offers considerable capacity for the movement of palletised and/or bulk freight in its lower fuselage hold. A versatile aeromedical configuration, including the ability to carry up to 40 stretchers and three critical care patients is available, as is a modest VIP passenger fit.
RAF Voyager in it’s new colours
Whether you like the new paint job or not the aircraft is well used. A versatile Passenger, Cargo and re-fuelling station it will be seen around the world. It isn’t just for special occasions but flies the flag worldwide. For more information have a look around the RAF’s website.