The Royal Australian Air Force Voyager “Vespina” has completed its refurbishment to provide a secure, cost-effective and suitably profiled transport for Government Ministers and the Royal Family. The smart new paint scheme will promote the UK around the world while transporting Ministers, senior members of the Royal Family and their delegations on trade, diplomatic and other missions. The aircraft now proudly displays the Union Flag alongside RAF markings and is ready to represent the UK across the globe. After weeks of work, the Voyager returned to RAF Brize Norton where it will operate alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. Alongside its VIP Role, the aircraft remains certified for its original use, including Air-to-Air Refuelling and personnel transport.
The aircraft, known as Vespina and also often referred to as ‘ZZ336’ which is its military registration number, was previously visually indistinguishable from the rest of the Operational Voyager Fleet. This external paint scheme will better reflect its VIP mission and contribution to ‘Global Britain’. The paintwork concludes a refurbishment stemming from the 2015 SDSR. The Project first created and agreed an outline design before being modified to account for commercial, legal, operational and design needs. This process was not only about the visual design, this was a complex engineering project requiring detailed drawings which were developed by Airbus. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group were then chosen to deliver the project on time and within budget.
Voyager KC2/KC3 is a Royal Air Force designation for an A330 MRTT. Voyager is the RAF’s sole air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tanker and also operates as a strategic air transport. The aircraft is in service as the Voyager KC.Mk 2, equipped with two underwing pods for refuelling fast jets, and as the Voyager KC.Mk 3, with an additional centreline hose for use by large aircraft. The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. A total of 12 nations have placed firm orders for approximately 60 aircraft, of which 42 had been delivered by 31 January 2020. A version of the A330 MRTT, the EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45, was proposed to the United States Air Force for their aerial tanker replacement program but was not successful.