The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that there are no plans to fit booms to the Voyager tanker aircraft.
The fitting of a boom would enable the aircraft to refuel aircraft such as the RC-135 Rivet Joint intelligence gathering aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and the future E-7 Wedgetail early warning aircraft.
The information came to light in response to a Parliamentary question.
Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, stated:
“RAF Voyager aircraft use a hose and drogue refuelling system. We have no current plans to fit an aerial refuelling boom system to the Voyager aircraft.”
In 2016, I spoke to former deputy Commander of Operations Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, and was told:
“If money and feasibility was no object the RAF would very much like the flexibility of a boom on at least some of their Voyagers.”
Gareth Jennings at Janes previously covered this topic here.
The flying boom is a rigid, telescoping tube with movable flight control surfaces that an operator on the tanker aircraft extends and inserts into a receptacle on the receiving aircraft. All boom-equipped tankers (e.g. KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender) have a single boom, and can refuel one aircraft at a time with this mechanism.
Voyager in Australian service, designated KC-30A in the Royal Australian Air Force, is equipped with both an Aerial Refuelling Boom System and two Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods.