AirTanker is tasked with the delivery of 14 RAF Voyager A330 aircraft. In its initial configuration and as defined by the RAF and MOD, this will include a core fleet of nine aircraft, although this may be changed according to operational requirement.
Of these, eight aircraft will fly in a military configuration on the Military Aircraft Register providing the RAF and UK Armed Forces with a step-change in strategic air-to-air refuelling, air transport and aeromedical evacuation capability.
At any one time at least one aircraft will also fly on the Civil Aircraft Register, less its military assets. This aircraft is operated by AirTanker in support of military and passenger movements, including in support of the maintenance of the Falkland’s air bridge.
The RAF and MOD also has surge capability rights on a further five aircraft.
A partnership for the long term
AirTanker is tasked with aircraft delivery but also the associated infrastructure, service and support needed to facilitate their safe, reliable and efficient operation by the RAF for the duration of the contract up until 2035.
This includes a built infrastructure including two-bay purpose-built hangar, operational and planning control, aircraft maintenance and dispatch, plus support personnel drawn from a team that brings RAF embedded, RAF Reserves and civilians together in the workplace.
AirTanker also provides a comprehensive training programme that extends from crew and engineering aircraft-type training, to specially developed courses in air-to-air refuelling and mission systems operation.
Expertise and flexibility
The joint venture behind AirTanker; Babcock, Cobham; EADs, Rolls Royce; and Thales, has responsibility for the delivery of the aircraft and capability but also as its’ primary sub-contractors, ongoing support, putting aircraft-type and aerospace experts in the front line for the duration of the Voyager Programme.
AirTanker assumes full responsibility for aircraft fatigue and maintenance, while the RAF and MOD is only charged at the point the aircraft enters service.