British air-to-air refueling service provider AirTanker has provided, on time, all nine Voyagers (Airbus A330MRTTs) that make up the “core” fleet providing service to the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). They have replaced the RAF’s aging VC10 and TriStar tankers. One of them is now engaged on the type’s first “no-notice” operation—the refueling of RAF Tornados flying strike missions over Iraq.
RAF Brize Norton
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has bid a fond farewell to the VC10 air refueling tanker, a type that has been in British military service for 47 years.
Airbus Military will supply a Thales full-flight simulator (FFS) for the A400M Atlas airlifter to the UK Royal Air Force in spring 2014, ahead of the aircraft’s entry into RAF service in late 2014. A joint venture between Airbus Military and Thales will maintain the FFS, which will be located at RAF Brize Norton, where all 22 UK Atlas aircraft will be based.
Marshall Aerospace has completed development of an avionics upgrade for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fleet of nine Lockheed Tristar tanker-transports. The work was designed to avoid obsolescence problems that now affect these aging aircraft, and to provide compliance with the latest requirements for flying in civil airspace, such as CNS/ATM.
Last week, Vince Cable, the business secretary in the new British government, heavily criticized the supply of 14 A330MRTTs to the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a private finance initiative (PFI). He told The Sunday Times that the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is “a massively expensive and unnecessary commitment.”
Talks to amend the Airbus A400M development and production contract will drag on into the autumn as the moratorium on funding imposed by the European partner nations continues.
The UK Royal Air Force mounted the biggest flypast seen in Europe for many years over RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, last Friday. On the ground, the Queen presented new colors to the RAF and the RAF Regiment with due ceremony, to mark the service’s 90th anniversary. Fortunately, the popular song title came true, and the rain did not fall on her parade.