A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RAF's largest plane ever lands in UK

Voyager of discovery
The Royal Air Force is going for biggest is best now. They've taken charge of a new tanker and transport plane, named the Voyager, which is almost 60m (197ft) long and has a 60m wingspan.
It is twice the size of a Lancaster bomber and will replace the VC-10 and Tristar aircraft. The RAF has bought 14 Voyagers and the first is expected to be in service by the end of the year.

These planes are not quite as big as jumbo jets, but you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference on a runway at a distance. The Voyager is a converted Airbus A330-200 airliner and can carry 291 troops for more than 6,000 miles (9,656km). So this is not for sorties out of the UK. It's to fit in with providing troop movement and refuelling well away from Britain. "I'm leaving on a Voyager and may be away some time", could well be a refrain.

The RAF is departing from its Word War II role of "defending these isles" to being able to get into action a bit more quickly than was seen in the response to the Libyan rebels. "Don't worry, rebel commander. We've got a Voyager with us". "A Voyager! Well, that's great news. You'll be here this afternoon, then?".

I'd say this was a good investment. No good having old planes on a runway somewhere in England, waiting for the call. The RAF need to be where the action is. Unless there is an uprising in Britain, which is highly unlikely (due to apathy rather than energy, I'd guess), the emphasis must be on the theatre of operations. Which will be well away from British shores, as the Belgians, Dutch, Germans, etc are very disinclined to invade unless its Canary Wharf, and that's not in the purlieu of the RAF.

Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, has got it right. He said, "The arrival of the first Voyager aircraft in the UK marks an important milestone in the process that will see the Royal Air Force equipped with the best available air-to-air refuelling capability, with the first due in service by the end of the year.

"Recent events in Libya and ongoing requirement for air-to-air refuelling over Afghanistan clearly demonstrate the essential role that air-to-air refuelling plays in getting our aircraft to where they are needed."

Clearly. Well done.


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£10.5 billion contract. how many small cargo planes can they build and use them to carry the troops. I understand the tech involved. But that’s alot of money for a glorified cargo plane.

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