The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Air Force (RAF), United Arab Emirates Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force. The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a version of the A330 MRTT proposed for the United States Air Force.
In January 2004 the UK Ministry of Defence announced that a variant of the A330 MRTT had been selected to provide tanking service for the RAF for the next 30 years under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme, replacing the RAF's existing TriStar and VC10 tankers. The Ministry of Defence then began negotiations with the AirTanker consortium.
On 27 March 2008 the UK Ministry of Defence signed a deal to lease 14 aircraft under a private finance initiative arrangement from EADS-led consortium AirTanker, with the first aircraft to enter service in 2011. There are two versions, designated Voyager KC2 and Voyager KC3; the former will be fitted with two Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods, the latter with a Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) in addition to the under-wing pods. None of the RAF aircraft are fitted with the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). Both versions of Voyager are powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60 engines.
As of May 2014, nine aircraft had been delivered, completing the "core fleet" of RAF aircraft. By August 2014, ten had been delivered with one for civilian purposes. The remaining deliveries are to be a "surge capability", available to the RAF when needed, but otherwise available to Airtanker for tasks such as "release to the civil market, less its military equipment or to partner nations in a military capacity with the MoD's agreement". As of 14 March 2016, all 14 Voyagers had been delivered to the RAF.
In November 2015, it was announced that an RAF A330 MRTT would be refitted to carry government ministers and members of the Royal Family on official visits. The refit would cost £10m but would save around £775,000 annually compared to the current practice of chartering flights. The aircraft, nicknamed "Cam Force One" by some in the media, will be fitted with 158 seats. The aircraft entered service on 6 May 2016, with the then Prime Minister David Cameron making his first flight on it to visit the 2016 Warsaw summit.
Because the RAF's Voyagers are only capable of probe and drogue refueling, they are unable to refuel RAF aircraft that are fitted solely for refueling from the flying boom, including the RC-135 Rivet Joint, C-17 Globemaster, and P-8 Poseidon. In April 2016, the RAF stated an interest in the idea of fitting a boom to at least some of the Voyager fleet, bringing the RAF's aircraft into line with other A330 MRTT operators around the world. Fitting a boom would not only allow operation with those types in the RAF not fitted for probe and drogue, but would also extend the flexibility of the RAF Voyager fleet in aerial refueling operations for other air forces that operate boom refueled aircraft.
|Width / Wingspan||30,15|
|Category||Aviation militaire moderne (>1945)|
|Airline / Operator||Armée de l'Air Française|