Yesterday, the new British A330 tanker began its RAF service life. The British program is built around a unique leasing approach. The leasing approach allows for amortization of operational costs by sharing life as a commercial freighter with its tanker duties with the RAF.
According to an Airbus Military press release:
The Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport has made its maiden flight in service with the UK Royal Air Force 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 familiarize 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 program, at the end of last year.
The Voyager aircraft represents a new standard in tanker/transport technology…. 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.
For earlier postings on the A330 tanker please see the following: