The Royal Air Force (RAF) Voyager Tanker from 83 Expeditionary Air Group refuelled the Qatar Emiri Air Force Rafale Fighter Jets on Exercise GALWAY in Qatar. This is the first time the RAF has conducted air-to-air refuelling with the Qatar Emiri Air Force. Exercise GALWAY was an opportunity for the current Operation SHADER Voyager Detachment from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing to conduct Partner Nation Integration on discreet, agile activity. It further demonstrates the ability of 83 Expeditionary Air Group to operate across the Broader Middle East.
“It has been a privilege to work with our Qatari allies working up their Rafale capability for air-to-air refuelling. We have had some fantastic moments this week, with the Rafale pilots integrating and debriefing with our crews understanding how well they’ve done in the air and developing their capability as air-to-air refuelling receivers has been a great opportunity” Squadron Leader Prager Detachment Commander said.
Exercise GALWAY was the latest demonstration that Qatar and the UK share mutual interests in ensuring stability in the Middle East. Joint operational training seeks to boost Qatar’s ability to tackle the shared security challenges which helps protect the prosperity and security of the UK at home and abroad. This air-to-air refuelling exercise was the latest bilateral training activity involving the RAF and the Qatar Emiri Air Force. The Voyager deployment provided a valuable training opportunity for both Air Forces, enhancing their interoperability.
Voyager is the Royal Air Force’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. Named Voyager in service, the A330 MRTT began RAF operations with 10 Sqn on May 12, 2012, flying an air transport sortie from its Brize Norton home base to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.