Voyager is a dual role air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft, currently in service with the Royal Air Force and used by the Prime Minister and Royal Family.
What is the A330 Voyager?
Voyager is a military derivative of the Airbus A330-200 Airliner. It is designed as a dual role air-to-air refuelling and air transport aircraft.
The aircraft is equipped with two underwing pods for refuelling fast jets and Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) giving Voyager the capability to also refuel large aircraft, such A400M.
Voyager has a payload of 43 tonnes of freight and 291 seat passenger capacity plus aeromedical evacuation capability (up to 40 stretchers and three critical care patients).
Voyager provides a vital connection between the UK and the Falkland Islands, through the South Atlantic Air Bridge (SAA). The twice-weekly service transports military personnel and civilians from RAF Bridge Norton to the Falklands.
Voyager came into service in 2014 and is currently supporting operations at home and abroad. It will remain in service until 2035. There are a total of 14 aircraft, nine of which are held in the core fleet with a further five held in reserve to meet demand as required.
About the A330 Voyager
One aircraft bears the Union Jack and is fitted with business class seating for VIPs, such as the Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family. However, it remains fully capable of aerial refuelling.
In June 2022, Voyager set two new records for non-stop flights between the UK and the Falkland Islands. These record-breaking flights confirmed the capability of the Voyager service to sustain the SAA to the Falklands without having to land for refuelling. The non-stop flights carrying passengers and freight were only possible thanks to DE&S’ cost-effective installation of a Crew Rest Facility on the civil registered Voyager so that relief aircrew could travel on board the aircraft.
In November 2022, DE&S worked with the RAF and industry partners to carry out a world-first 100% sustainable fuel flight using an A330 Voyager. This was the first flight powered completely by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel for a military aircraft of its size, and the first of any aircraft type in the UK. The flight was a joint endeavour between the RAF, DE&S and our industry partners Airbus, AirTanker and Rolls-Royce, with the fuel purchased from Air bp.
A330 Voyager has a colossal 60-metre wingspan and is the largest aircraft ever used by the Royal Air Force.
How is Voyager delivered?
DE&S manages the Voyager Private Finance Initiative contract. This is a 27-year contract awarded to the AirTanker consortium to manage the maintenance, infrastructure, and spares needed to sustain the Voyager programme. The scope of the contract also covers aircrew and ground crew training, including training school instructors and fleet management.
Voyager is one of the highest value private finance initiative (PFI) contract in Government. DE&S plays a crucial role in ensuring maximum value and benefit from the services available, working closely with our industry partners.
Meet the DE&S Voyager delivery team
Become part of the team
The DE&S Voyager Delivery Team is made up of 40 personnel at MOD Abbey Wood Bristol and RAF Brize Norton. The team manages a contracted service to supply Voyager to the RAF.
Voyager is operated by 10 Squadron and 101 Squadron in the RAF.