Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

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SKB
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Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

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Introduction
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 Air Force (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), 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.

Design and development
The Airbus A330 MRTT is a military derivative of the A330-200 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft. For air-to-air refuelling missions the A330 MRTT can be equipped with a combination of any of the following systems:

* Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) for receptacle-equipped receiver aircraft.
* Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods for probe-equipped receiver aircraft.
* Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) for probe-equipped receiver aircraft
* Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) for self in-flight refuelling.

The A330 MRTT has a maximum fuel capacity of 111,000 kg (245,000 lb) without the use of additional fuel tanks, which leaves space for the carriage of 45,000 kg (99,000 lb) of additional cargo. The A330 MRTT's wing has common structure with the four-engine A340-200/-300 with reinforced mounting locations and provision for fuel piping for the A340's outboard engines. The A330 MRTT's wing therefore requires little modification for use of these hardpoints for the wing refuelling pods.

The A330 MRTT cabin can be modified to carry up to 380 passengers in a single class configuration, allowing a complete range of configurations from maximised troop transport to complex customisation suitable for VIP and guest missions. The A330 MRTT can also be configured to perform Medical Evacuation (Medevac) missions; up to 130 standard stretchers can be carried. The main deck cargo configuration allows carriage of standard commercial containers and pallets, military, ISO and NATO pallets (including seats) and containers, and military equipment and other large items which are loaded through a cargo door. Like the A330-200, the A330 MRTT includes two lower deck cargo compartments (forward and aft) and a bulk area capability. The cargo hold has been modified to be able to transport up to 8 military pallets in addition to civilian Unit Load Device (ULD).

An optional crew rest compartment (CRC), located in the forward cabin can be installed for a spare crew to increase time available for a mission. The passenger cabin of the A330 MRTT can be provided with a set of removable airstairs to enable embarkation and disembarkation when airbridges or ground support equipment are not available.

Standard commercial A330-200s are delivered from Airbus Final Assembly Line in Toulouse (France) to Airbus Military Conversion Centre in Getafe, Spain for fitting of refuelling systems and military avionics. The tanker was certified by Spanish authorities in October 2010. It was first delivered to Australia on 1 June 2011. Qantas Defence Services converted the remaining four A330-200s at its Brisbane Airport facility on behalf of EADS for the Royal Australian Air Force.

United Kingdom
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 L-1011 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 have 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

Accidents and incidents
On 19 January 2011, an air refuelling accident occurred between a boom equipped A330 MRTT and a Portuguese Air Force F-16 over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Spain. Early reports indicate that the boom broke off at the aft end of the boom near the F-16's receptacle which caused the boom to recoil into the underside of the A330 MRTT. The boom then became uncontrollable and oscillated until it broke off the boom assembly at the pivot point. Both aircraft were damaged, but landed safely. The A330 MRTT involved was an Airbus test aircraft destined for the RAAF; the air arm issued a statement that the aircraft was operated by an Airbus crew with no Australian personnel on board. At the time of the incident, Airbus had not begun deliveries.

On 10 September 2012 at approximately 19:30 (CEST), an A330 MRTT's refuelling boom became detached in flight at an altitude of 27,000 ft in Spanish airspace. The boom separated cleanly at a mechanical joint and fell to the ground, while the aircraft landed safely in Getafe. There were no injuries caused by the malfunction. The incident was the result of a conflict between the backup boom hoist (fitted to the UAE-destined A330 MRTTs) and the primary boom retraction mechanism, and was attributable to the testing being conducted. Airbus later explained that the malfunction was not possible under ordinary operating conditions, and that procedures had been designed to avoid similar incidents in the future. Following the incident, INTA, the Spanish regulatory authority, issued precautionary restrictions to other users of boom-equipped A330's.


Crew: 3: 2 pilots, 1 AAR operator
Capacity: 291 passengers, and 8 military pallets + 1LD6 container + 1 LD3 container (lower deck cargo compartments)
Payload: 45,000 kg (99,000 lb) non-fuel payload
Length: 58.80 m (193 ft)
Wingspan: 60.3 m (198 ft)
Height: 17.4 m (57 ft)
Wing area: 362 m2 (3,900 ft2)
Empty weight: 125,000 kg (275,600 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 233,000 kg (514,000 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Rolls-Royce Trent 772B or General Electric CF6-80E1A4 or Pratt & Whitney PW 4170 turbofans, 320 kN (72,000 lbf) 320 kN each
Fuel Capability: 111,000 kg (245,000 lb) max, 65,000 kg (143,000 lb) at 1,000 nmi (1852 km) with 2 hours on station
Maximum speed: 880 km/h (475 knots, 547 mph)
Cruise speed: 860 km/h (464 knots, 534 mph)
Ferry range: 14,800 km (8,000 nmi, 9,200 mi)
Service ceiling: 13,000 m (42,700 ft)

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SKB
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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by SKB »

Inside an RAF A330 Voyager


Typhoons refuelling from an A330 Voyager

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by sea_eagle »

Can anyone advise what happens if we ever need the 5 which are leased out to thecommerical sector? How soon can we get them back and does that mean we would fly them to Afghanistan (or wherever) in Thomas Cook colours?
What about the military kit - comms, DAS, which presumably aren't fitted while they are leased out. So realistically how soon can they be called up for service and do we then have trained crews to fly them?

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by Pymes75 »

The Armchair Soldier wrote:
Thanks for the heads up!

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by Little J »

sea_eagle wrote:Can anyone advise what happens if we ever need the 5 which are leased out to thecommerical sector? How soon can we get them back and does that mean we would fly them to Afghanistan (or wherever) in Thomas Cook colours?
What about the military kit - comms, DAS, which presumably aren't fitted while they are leased out. So realistically how soon can they be called up for service and do we then have trained crews to fly them?
Can't answer sea_eagles question, but made me want to raise another. Why convert them to civilian spec anyway? Can't they be used like omega, contracted to NATO allies?

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

sea_eagle wrote:Can anyone advise what happens if we ever need the 5 which are leased out to thecommerical sector? How soon can we get them back and does that mean we would fly them to Afghanistan (or wherever) in Thomas Cook colours?
What about the military kit - comms, DAS, which presumably aren't fitted while they are leased out. So realistically how soon can they be called up for service and do we then have trained crews to fly them?
Cant give you a time, but I know everything is pretty much plug in and play.
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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by marktigger »

i see the RAAF are getting 2 ex QANTAS ones converted to MRTT to enhance their fleet

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by downsizer »

Lets be clear, Airtankers interest is nothing to do with the benefit of UK Armed Forces, it's purely down to spinning an extra profit for them.

If we ask them to do it, we will pay (read ass raped dry) them for the service. And any extra capacity sold to allies will go straight into Air Tankers coffers and not the MoD. We won't see a penny of it.

That said it would be beneficial for Airseeker, C17 and potentially the P8. I don't think it will happen because of the cost, both in terms of fees and mods to airtanker and the cost of training aircrew to operate the boom system.

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by -Eddie- »

Voyager will be going over to NAS Patuxent River, USA early next year to start refuelling trials with a Lockheed Martin F-35B.
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ry-414852/ Last paragraph.

WRT boom for Voyager, as Downsizer says it's the people who make a profit off Voyager who are touting this upgrade. It's a bit like Eurofighter GmbH saying the RAF might buy conformal fuel tanks and new engines for the Typhoon. I wouldn't take it seriously at all.

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by Gabriele »

The Voyager surge fleet is contractually required to be avaialble for use at 90 days notice, i believe. 90 days to call them back from wherever they are, kit them up, and send them out on ops.
The number of crews was planned to be 37, don't know if this changed, though. Air Tanker is required to provide 7 reserve crews (pilot and co-pilot only, the 37 mission systems operators are all RAF) to that total.
You might also know me as Liger30, from that great forum than MP.net was.

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by marktigger »

wonder why airtanker ins't rushing into the airlogistics business or are they hoping to with UK tax payer picking up the tab?

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by 1911 »

Not to flog a dead horse here but it is absolutely infuriating that the PFI nature of AAR capability makes it unlikely, (for all the reasons stated above), that any Voyagers will be fitted with booms. If one were to carry out an assessment of where in the armed forces the most capability growth could be gained from a relatively modest outlay I am sure this upgrade would figure large. Had they been RAF assets in the true sense of the word this would be a much more viable option.

Under the PFI arrangment I do not see it happening, nor do I want to see another penny going into the AirTanker money box. This is an absolutely cynical attempted to maximise the consortiums chances for making profits internationally in the long term while generating some short term upgrade work.
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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by Ianmb17 »

Reading last paragraph of article below airtanker will be funding boom so won't cost RAF anything unless they have to supply boom operators

http://www.janes.com/article/53075/airt ... -provision

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

Yes that's a private finance initiative, they pay for it, then we pay for it later.
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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by downsizer »

shark bait wrote:Yes that's a private finance initiative, they pay for it, then we pay for it later.
At a considerably higher rate. Then we provide the MSOs. Because airtanker don't provide any.

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by S M H »

The elephant in the room is the payment of deprecation of equipment paid to the treasury. Making leasing the aeroplanes not that different than paying deprecation to the treasury on the aircraft that was paid for by the Equipment budget (hence why the B B C saying we will pay 6 billon for the one carrier.)

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by Ron5 »

S M H wrote:The elephant in the room is the payment of deprecation of equipment paid to the treasury. Making leasing the aeroplanes not that different than paying deprecation to the treasury on the aircraft that was paid for by the Equipment budget (hence why the B B C saying we will pay 6 billon for the one carrier.)
Huh?

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

I spoted a voyager as Vegas airport this week, any ideas what it's doing there ?

(Also saw air force 1 which was pretty sweet!)
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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by Ianmb17 »

RAF visit South Africa
http://www.sldinfo.com/raf-tanker-visits-south-africa/

Is RAF selling Airbus aircraft now Voyager in South Africa and Atlas on World tour

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

Post by The Armchair Soldier »

It seems the RAF will be losing one of its Voyagers because Dave wants his own Air Force One:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... plane.html

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Re: Airbus A330 Voyager (MRTT) (RAF)

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