posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:05 PM
The AirTanker consortium that will operate the Voyager tankers for the RAF is hopeful that they will receive certification to begin tanker operations
soon. They aren't scheduled to take over operations until March 2014, but there have been issues with the Voyager tankers.
They are switching the wingtip hose and drogue units from the Cobham High Speed Variable Drag Drogue that was designed for operations between 180 and
300 knots, to the Sergeant-Fletcher drogue that is currently used by the Tristars, VC-10s, and other countries tankers. The HSVDD had problems with
spinning and venting, which caused hose oscillation. After that problem was solved, they found that the basket would tip when the receiver tried to
The HSVDD is cleared for use by the other three Voyager customers, and is cleared to refuel aircraft such as the F/A-18. They will retain the HSVDD
in the centerline position, and use it to refuel larger aircraft such as the Hercules and the Sentry.
AirTanker is currently authorized to use the Voyagers in a transport role, but not as tankers yet. They operate three, two of them two point tankers,
and one civilian registered aircraft.
LONDON — AirTanker, the consortium charged with the provision of air-to-air refueling services for the U.K. Royal Air Force, says it hopes to be
cleared to start tanker work in the coming weeks.
Although AirTanker is not due to take on the aerial refueling role until March 2014, efforts to clear the Airbus A330 Voyager tankers have been
hampered by a series of issues involving the hose-and-drogue system used to refuel receivers.
Without certification, the three Voyager aircraft have been relegated to air transport duties only, but the company hopes to begin operational tanking
missions in the next few months.