The RAF finally confirms its new tankers will be called ‘Voyager’.
July 15: The RAF’s new strategic tanker, the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) being provided through a 27 year, £10.5 billion Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the AirTanker consortium was officially named ‘Voyager’ at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
Making its public debut, the aircraft is also known in military circles as the KC-30, as designated by the Royal Australian Air Force. Under the PFI, 14 Voyagers will be provided by AirTanker at a brand new purpose-built facility at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, who attended the naming ceremony at Fairford, said “This magnificent aircraft is the future for the RAF’s air to air refuelling and passenger transport capability for the coming decades. Voyager, together with the C-17, C-130J and the A400M transport aircraft will provide the RAF with a truly world class fleet of aircraft, underpinning the global reach that is vital to our operations.”
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, who also attended the ceremony said “As we have seen in Afghanistan and Libya, an effective air to air refuelling and transport fleet is an essential force multiplier in this era of expeditionary warfare. Voyager, when it enters service later this year, will excel in these roles by not only increasing our air-to-air refuelling capability but also by substantially improving our strategic airlift capacity.
“Voyager is the airborne part of a flexible and cost effective whole-service contract which will enable the rapid movement of personnel around the world and provide unprecedented global reach to our combat aircraft. We can be justifiably proud of this magnificent addition to the RAF’s fleet; it will serve our Armed Forces well for many years to come.”