A Voyager tanker has demonstrated what the Royal Air Force have referred to as “an oft forgotten capability” by carrying out an air to air refuelling training sortie with a C-130J Hercules.
According to this news release, the objective of the sortie was to provide training in the complex operational processes needed to refuel an aircraft in the air.
“The ability to do that is a key component of Royal Air Force flying operations. The Voyager is along with being a key element of strategic air transport for the RAF, it is also a duel role as the sole aerial refuelling aircraft meaning it is a true force-multiplier.
The concept of a force-multiplier means that as an aircraft the Voyager, has the capability to increase the combat potential of other aircraft by being able to refuel them when required. This in-turn allows RAF combat jets, such as the Typhoon and F-35B, the ability to increase their time-on-task or range to conduct operations.”
The RAF also explained the utility of this activity.
“Air to Air Refuelling, also however allows larger RAF aircraft, such as such as the Atlas A400M and Hercules C130J, the ability to support humanitarian missions and airdrops in austere or difficult locations. A recent example being when a RAF Hercules deployed to the Falkland Islands to conduct Exercise Austral Endurance.
This exercise saw the Hercules conduct a number of sorties dropping supplies onto the Sky-Blu Field Station in the Antarctic. Without the Voyager, the Hercules would not have been able to reach Palmer Land, home of Sky-Blu and drop these vital supplies. Other examples were the enabling of C-130J humanitarian airdrops onto Mount Sinjar in 2014, and long-range parachute insertions into Eastern Europe that have been carried out over the last few years.”
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