The Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport has made its maiden flight in service with the UK Royal Air Force yesterday April 8th.
Known as the Voyager in RAF service, the aircraft took off from RAF Brize Norton for a training sortie around the United Kingdom to allow the AirTanker crew to familiarise themselves with the aircraft and achieve the first part of the Voyager crew training schedule.
The Voyager aircraft was delivered by Airbus Military to AirTanker, the company formed to operate and support the Voyager for the UK Ministry of Defence under the Future Strategic Transport Aircraft programme, at the end of last year.
The Voyager aircraft represents a new standard in tanker/transport technology and will provide the RAF with the world´s most advanced air-to-air refueling, passenger transport and aeromedical capability. As a modern and efficient aircraft, the Voyager is quieter and more fuel-efficient than any other aircraft currently based at RAF Brize Norton – the RAF´s primary transport/tanker base.
Airbus Military has to deliver 14 converted aircraft to AirTanker, of which two have already been converted from the basic A330-200 in Getafe and another two are in conversion at Cobham facilities in the UK. The Voyager has military and civil certification and the service will operate aircraft on both the military and civilian registers.
Antonio Caramazana, Programme Director Airbus Military Derivatives, said: “It is a proud day for everyone involved with the A330 MRTT programme to see the Voyager in service with the RAF. We look forward to many years of successful operation of the aircraft by AirTanker.”
Phil Blundell, Chief Executive of AirTanker said: “The aircraft is a magnificent airframe which combines efficiency, effective tasking capability and reliability. The programme brings together the best of the civilian aviation industry with military operational expertise and will offer an innovative and multi-functional capability to meet the demands of the 21st Century.”
Source: Airbus, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Apr 9, 2012