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Having replaced the veteran VC10 and Tristar aircraft, the Voyager delivers a 98% availability ratio


Crucially, the improved reliability and comfort of the Voyager allows RAF Brize Norton to behave differently as a station. It no longer has to deal with erratic arrival timings for aircraft that are struggling with maintenance issues due to their old age, resulting in a more reliable service. “The ground crew, the engineers, the movements team, the dispatch teams can now expect an aircraft to arrive at a certain time so they can configure and plan accordingly. Having a different, reliable aircraft touches all aspects of the way we do business at the end of the day,” says Lushington. The 14 Airbus Voyager tanker-transporters, of which the core fleet of nine is now in service, were procured under a private finance initiative deal agreed in March 2008. The contract with AirTanker

is worth approximately £10.5 billion over 27 years, amounting to some £1 million per day. That sounds a lot but, in addition to the aircraft themselves, the contract also includes training, maintenance, infrastructure and the provision of 14 Sponsored Reserve pilots and 48 qualified cabin crew. “As the person who has to deliver the capability it works very well indeed,” says Lushington. “If you imagine what that capability is delivering to the support of the Typhoons and Tornados in the middle of an operational zone, that represents value for money.” At the time of writing, five of the planned 22 Airbus A400M Atlas transporters are available to the AMF on a daily basis, while others are undergoing modifications prior to delivery. These aircraft have already been


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23/06/2016 16:47

RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force

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