The first A330 Voyager aircraft has flown in service with the Royal Air Force.
April 10: The first A330 Voyager aircraft took to the skies for its maiden flight under the command of an AirTanker crew on April 8 to signal the commencement of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) service to the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The aircraft, a version of the Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, took off from RAF Brize Norton for a training sortie around the UK 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 at the end of last year and will provide the RAF with an advanced air-to-air refuelling, passenger transport and aero medical capability.
AirTanker Services (ATrS), the service delivery company, is ready to support and operate the Voyager aircraft to Civil Aviation Authority standards. Based at RAF Brize Norton, ATrS has built a team including both civilian and military expertise.
AirTanker plans to deliver the full capability of 14 aircraft by 2016. The nine aircraft that form the RAF core fleet will be delivered by May 2014. The service will operate aircraft on both the military and civilian registers.
The next 12 months will see the Voyager team conduct planned procedural activities ensuring the aircraft continues through its intensive programme to be ready for future operational environments. During this time, the aircraft will be based at RAF Brize Norton to allow air and ground crews to complete Air Transport and Air to Air Refuelling familiarisation training and development on the aircraft type.