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Voyager Demonstrates New Defence Capabilities

Category: AirTanker Released: 12 March 2021

The versatility and reach of the Voyager MRTT is demonstrated further with the introduction of a new capability that offers innovative and step-changing advancements in near real time, secure, information distribution.

We, AirTanker, have invested jointly with Airbus, in the upgrade of the Satellite Communications System on a Voyager from the core-fleet, enabling the aircraft to act as an airborne communications node whilst concurrently operating its Air-to-Air Refuelling tasks.

This Voyager modification included an upgraded antennae and software, along with a new network connection point at the mission console in the flight deck. With this modification now fully certified, it can remain on the aircraft and is available for future operational use when required. This capability enables intelligence to be drawn from a variety of sources, whether from space, another aircraft, a ship at sea or land-based system, to provide a combined intelligence picture of unrivalled detail in near real time.

Here's a short video which illustrates this capability:

Phill Blundell, Chief Executive Officer, AirTanker, stated: “We are delighted to have been able to develop and extend the capabilities of the Voyager and provide this enhanced versatility. The collaboration and partnership between AirTanker, the RAF and Airbus, enables the development and delivery of strategic future facing capabilities.”  

A demonstration of these capabilities was provided to all three Armed Services on-board the Voyager, illustrating how the system can operate in the most demanding environments and offer the ability to provide a new Information Advantage system at 25000ft.

Richard Franklin as Head of Airbus Defence & Space UK, says: “Secure connectivity is key to the future battlespace.  The collaboration with the RAF and AirTanker to embed satellite communications and connect, while demonstrating a flawless link with the RAF’s/RCO’s virtual comms node, proves the versatility and value of the MRTT in current and future operations.”

Group Captain Patrick Shea-Simonds, RCO Deputy Head, attended the demonstration and explained: “Information advantage has always been key to success on operations, but in today’s world the ability to pull together intelligence and present it in a way which enables near real-time decisions to be made is critical.

“This work, which also demonstrates the close working relationship the RCO has with industry, is informing how we develop new capabilities. The speed at which the information was collated, processed and presented was quite remarkable.”

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