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26 mars 2015 4 26 /03 /mars /2015 12:50
photo RAF - UK MoD

photo RAF - UK MoD

 

25 mars 2015 Aerobuzz.fr

 

Le 9 février 2014, un Airbus A330 « Voyager » de la Royal Air Force avait connu de brusques changements d’attitudes alors qu’il était en vol de croisière. L’appareil, qui rentrait d’Afghanistan avec 198 militaires à son bord, avait violemment piqué avant de retrouver une situation normale après une trentaine de secondes. 24 passagers et 7 membres d’équipage avaient été blessés pendant la manœuvre impromptue qui avait plaqué les passagers non attachés au plafond de la cabine. Le rapport publié hier par la Military Aviation Authority britannique confirme que l’incident a été provoqué par le commandant de bord qui avait déposé un appareil photo sur la console de gauche, entre l’accoudoir de son siège et le manche latéral. L’homme avait ensuite avancé son siège, bloquant l’appareil photo contre le manche lui même poussé en butée avant. L’avion avait alors perdu 4400 ft en 27 secondes, mais il était resté contrôlable et récupérable à l’issue de son piqué grâce à la protection automatique de l’enveloppe de vol souligne le rapport.

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7 janvier 2015 3 07 /01 /janvier /2015 12:20
Typhoon FGR4 air to air refuel EX Red Flag


7 janv. 2015 Royal Air Force

 

The deployment by 1(F) Squadron across the Atlantic continues. The 6000 mile journey to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada would not be possible without the support of a pair of Voyager air-refuelling tanker aircraft.#RAFRedFlag

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18 juillet 2014 5 18 /07 /juillet /2014 16:50
All Royal Air Force MRTT enter service on schedule

 

Tuesday 15 July - Norbert Thomas - EATC

 

According to the official Royal Air Force news, the largest aircraft of the RAF air transport (AT) fleet, the Airbus A 330 MRTT “Voyager”, flew into Farnborough yesterday morning for the start of the International Farnborough Air Show - and with the British MoD confirming all nine aircraft have now been delivered to the RAF: on time and on budget.

Therewith the British Air Force contains the most modern - multirole - air transport fleet within Europe – although EATC is also about to replace some strategic AT-aircraft in the midterm future: Starting 2017 with assigned French and Spanish Airbus A330 (enhanced) MRTT.

EATC’s strategic fleet is actually composed of two Dutch KDC-10, five German A310 and A310 MRTT, two French A 340 and three A310, one Belgian Airbus A321 as well as three Spanish B 707 to be taken over under EATC operational command (OPCON) by the end of this year. Assuming Italy will join the EATC, the use of four KC-767A becomes a likely enhancement.  


After A400M Transfer of Authority (ToA)
EATC is right now more focusing on the tactical issue of its assigned fleet, as the reliable but also old Transall and Hercules face their end of duty in the upcoming years - while the first both French A400M have already faced the ToA from France towards EATC OPCON and now need to be introduced within the assigned tactical EATC fleet - in parallel contain their testing at the French Multinational Entry into Service Team (MEST).
After the first A400M have already been in mission abroad and taken part at several exercises, EATC’s functional division starts focusing on the next nations the aircraft is to be delivered to: first German A400M is planned to be handed over to the German Air Force this fall, the first Spanish aircraft will be delivered early 2016 under the SOC 2 (standard operational clearance) - to be able to fulfill enhanced tactical missions and additional performances. With the constant introduction of the A400M aircraft by then the tactical fleet of EATC will get dramatically younger.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 17:55
French Pilot Talks Up RAF Voyager Tanker

 

April 8, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Air Tanker Co.; issued April 8, 2014)

 

‘Entente [Most] Cordiale’

 

With the French Air Force expected to place its first order for the MRTT, we catch up with Capitaine Francois Gilbert, Armée de l’Air, who has joined Voyager on secondment.

 

 

It is only Capitaine Francois Gilbert’s uniform, that of the Armée De L’Air, the Tricolore on its shoulder, which betrays his status. “My brief is to be a 10 Squadron pilot. To do exactly what they do and to go exactly where they go. I report into Wing Commander Jamie Osborne as Officer Commanding 10 Squadron and I follow his orders”, he explains in perfect, if slightly ‘accented’ English.

 

He joined Voyager from the Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol: ‘The Bretagne’, which was formed in the deserts of Chad by the Free French Movement at the beginning of 1942 and now operates from Istres Le Tube, just south of Marseille.

 

His rank ‘translates’ broadly to that of Flight Lieutenant in the RAF, and with 10 years in the Armée De L’Air behind him – six as an air-to-air refuelling (AAR) specialist, flying the Boeing C135 - air transport and air-to-air refuelling, have become his specialism, if not his ‘Raison d'être’.

 

Capitaine Gilbert ‘joined’ the RAF Voyager programme last year, as part of a three year ‘secondment’ to serve with the RAF and No.10 Squadron. “The culture is perhaps a little different between the French and UK air forces but mostly the same. I suspect that Voyager is a little different anyway from what is ‘normal’ for the RAF because of AirTanker”, he continues.

 

But these cultural observations are made purely in passing. The French Air Force is expected to place its first order for the MRTT later this year. With the first of 12 tankers built by Airbus Defence and Space to be delivered by 2018, they will replace France’s 14-strong fleet of C135 FR jets, three A310 and two A340.

 

“I’m here to build an understanding of the MRTT, its capability and training required to fly it so that when I go back, the knowledge and understanding that I have gained here, can be applied to the French AAR programme”, he says.

 

At the cutting-edge of military aviation, the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is the only fully certified new-generation aircraft of its type flying today. Able to carry 111 tonnes of fuel, Voyager, the MRTT in its RAF guise - can support air-to-air (AAR) refueling missions, without the requirement for additional fuel tanks.

 

With this inherent fuel capacity leaving its’ cargo hold and passenger capacity un-checked, Voyager can carry 291 passengers, eight NATO pallets or a payload of 43 tonnes, or be configured to provide a 40 stretcher medical evacuation capability.

 

But it’s not just the flexibility in operation but also the technical capability of the aircraft that sets RAF Voyager apart. Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines deliver an impressive 71,000 lbf (316kN) thrust. Fly-by-wire technology protects the flight envelope and reduces crew workload. While a cutting-edge vision system delivers 240 degree rear situation awareness, giving far greater visibility in air-to-air refueling missions.

 

In its configuration for the French Air Force, the first aircraft delivered will be equipped with a central boom and two underwing pods. Later versions should include a cargo door and specialist datalink which will allow the plane to receive information and transfer information more effectively from the L16 equipped receivers.

 

“It’s interesting moving from the Boeing to the Airbus”, continues Gilbert, “To begin with one is a 50 year old aircraft the other is new and the fly-by-wire technology is very different but the training is much the same and I believe is being delivered to a very high standard.

 

“Voyager is particularly good for receiver aircraft. The hose is a little longer and that’s good because they get hit by less turbulence but the wing span is also very good because it’s bigger.

 

“Air-to-air refuelling is not a ‘natural’ thing. If you had two or three aircraft that closely together it would normally be classed as an accident. The bigger wing span keeps the aircraft further apart and the technology is excellent, which is good for everyone!”

 

 

French Pilot Talks Up RAF Voyager Tanker

AirTanker has a responsibility for not only the delivery of 14 fully converted A330/MRTT aircraft to the RAF but also the service and support systems which underpin their operation through to 2035. This includes ground and flight operations, engineering, maintenance and dispatch, plus a comprehensive training programme.

 

This training covers everything from aircraft-type and mission systems training to ground handling and cabin crew courses. “Because I’m still part of the training programme I haven’t had a huge number of hours flying. I have gone through the SIM and classroom programme and done a trip to Akrotiri in addition to flying training sectors”, continues Gilbert.

 

“I believe the training is being delivered to a very high standard and works well with the civilian instructors, for example Dave Hall and Kieran Roebuck, who have incredible aircraft-type experience.

 

“It [AirTanker] does a lot of the things that Squadrons would normally do. In France you get the order to carry ‘X’ from ‘A’ to ‘B’. It’s then up to you to file your flight plan, you as a squadron manage diplomatic clearances. Here, all that is done for you. You check that it’s been done correctly but all of that initial work is done by the civilian partnership, which is quite different I think.”

 

This year represents a watershed for the Voyager programme as it picks up roles previously performed by the VC10 which was retired last autumn and the TriStar, which followed it in March. This includes a new role in support of the RAF’s Quick Response Alert (QRA).

 

2014 will also see delivery of the nine-Voyager strong core fleet in the summer. In the pursuit of this aim, AirTanker and the Voyager programme took receipt of its seventh aircraft, ZZ337 in late January. This brings the total number of aircraft flying on the MAR to six, (2x two-point tankers and 4x three-point capable tankers).

 

Since the start of air transport operations in April 2012, these aircraft have together clocked more than 7,200 hours, flying more than 1,940 sectors, carrying more than 125,300 passengers and 8,100 tonnes plus of freight. This includes the start of flights in and out of Camp Bastion in support of the Afghanistan air-bridge in December last year.

 

Voyager 02, which flies on the Civilian Aircraft Register, has flown more than 2,700 hours and 490 sectors, carrying over 55,600 passengers and more than 3,400 tonnes of freight, since the start of AirTanker’s civilian airline operation at the beginning of 2013.

 

With a home base south of Marseille and just having come through a winter classed as ‘wet’ by even UK standards, Gilbert concedes that he on occasion, has “missed the sun a little”. But he is hugely complimentary about his hosts’ hospitality. “I have a house just inside the wire at RAF Brize Norton, which is good for me. You don’t really feel that you’re on base. And the squadrons [No.s 10 and 101] have been very welcoming.

 

He concludes: “It’s been great. I have felt a part of the Squadron since my arrival and I’m sure the rest of my time is going to be good.”

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 12:50
RAF completes first Voyager three-point tanking flight

 

Apr 3, 2014 Cobham  Air Tanker

 

RAF Voyager has today (31/3/14) carried out its’ first flight with RAF crews as a three-point tanker, completing an air-to-air refuelling sortie over the Cornish Coast.

 

The flight follows the Release to Service awarded to Voyager from the Ministry of Defence on 29/3/14, which cleared Voyager to refuel the C-130 Hercules, the first approval on the Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU).

 

This latest achievement for the Voyager programme follows the wing-pod approvals already given by the MOD to begin air-to-air refuelling (AAR) operations with Tornado and Typhoon in summer last year.

 

Phill Blundell, CEO, AirTanker, which was appointed in 2008 to deliver the Future Strategic Tanker Transport Aircraft (FSTA) programme, said clearance on the FRU represented another significant step forward.

 

He said: “Clearance with the C-130 on the centerline hose is another important achievement, nudging us just that little bit closer to full operational capability. “We will continue to work alongside the RAF in supporting refinement of these systems as we move towards our air-to-air refuelling in service date in the summer.”

 

AirTanker, the consortium behind Voyager, is made up of leading aerospace, defence and facilities management specialists, Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Babcock. They also form its primary supply chain.

 

Since receiving the go-ahead to refuel the Tornado GR4 and Typhoon, Voyager has completed more than 215 air-to-air refuelling sorties, giving away in excess of 3,300 tonnes of fuel.

 

A fully certified and militarily-converted Airbus A330-200, multi role tanker transport MRTT, Voyager has a total fuel capacity of 111 tonnes. This is delivered using standard A330-200 fuel tanks without adaptation of its cargo hold to accommodate additional capacity.

 

In addition to its air-to-air refuelling role Voyager also has capacity to carry up to 291 passengers with a cargo capability of up to 8 NATO pallets or up to 43 tonnes. The aircraft can also be configured to accommodate a 40 stretcher aeromedical evacuation capability including critical care.

 

In all seven aircraft have now been delivered to the programme. The latest arrival, ZZ337, which was delivered at the end of January, brings the total number of aircraft flying on the MAR to six, (2x two-point tankers and 4x three-point capable tankers).

 

Since the start of air transport operations in April 2012, these military aircraft have together clocked more than 7,200 hours, flying more than 1,940 sectors, carrying more than 125,300 passengers and 8,100 tonnes plus of freight. This includes the start of flights in and out of Camp Bastion in support of the Afghanistan air-bridge in December last year.

 

Voyager 02, which flies on the Civilian Aircraft Register, has flown more than 2,700 hours and 490 sectors, carrying over 55,600 passengers and more than 3,400 tonnes of freight, since the start of AirTanker’s civilian airline operation at the beginning of 2013 Blundell added: “As with any programme of this scale, we have faced challenges but in partnership with the RAF, they have been overcome. They have not impacted on the programme. Our effort and the pace of progress has been relentless and we remain on budget and on time.

 

“Most importantly we have remained flexible, adapting to the changing needs of the programme and the RAF and the MOD as customer. We will continue to work alongside them to ensure that needs of the RAF and UK Armed Forces continue to be met.”

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