In a landmark display of aviation prowess, the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Voyager aircraft recently executed a historic air-to-air refuelling mission with blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This extraordinary accomplishment, which took place over the vast expanse of the North Sea, involved the Royal Air Force's (RAF) distinguished VIP Voyager, adorned with a resplendent Union Flag tail and resplendent 'United Kingdom' livery, replenishing the fuel tanks of four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.
On a serene morning amid the idyllic Oxfordshire countryside, the VIP Voyager, its fuselage permeated by 43% SAF, gracefully taxied onto the Brize Norton runway. Aboard this illustrious aircraft were esteemed individuals such as UK Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani MP, members of the media, and the accomplished engineer Loraine McIlree from Airbus' Filton-based team, who had played an instrumental role in the successful 100% SAF-powered flight of the Voyager from Brize Norton in the previous year.
Reflecting on this groundbreaking achievement, Loraine stated, "Last year, we seized the opportunity to push the boundaries by conducting a flight test on an operational military aircraft. As the leader of the technical team for this project, we triumphantly flew an RAF Voyager A330 MRTT with 100% SAF in both engines, completely devoid of fossil fuels."
This notable demonstration flight in April served as a testament to the heights of sustainability, as the VIP Airbus Voyager effectively refuelled four Eurofighter Typhoon jets utilizing a blended SAF formulation. The timing of this exercise, coinciding with the commencement of the esteemed Farnborough Sustainable Skies World Summit, facilitated an awe-inspiring 500-foot low fly-past over Farnborough before the Voyager gracefully touched down at Brize Norton.
Air Vice-Marshal Paul Lloyd remarked, "Boasting enhanced reliability and extended range, the Voyager aircraft confers upon the RAF an augmented capability to support troop mobility, the transportation of military assets, and contributes to UK air defense. With a colossal payload capacity of 43 tonnes and a seating capacity of 291 passengers, coupled with its aeromedical evacuation capability, the Voyager embodies unparalleled flexibility in air mobility, lending unwavering support to the UK Armed Forces for both military and humanitarian operations."