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RAF’s Iconic Voyager Helps the Almighty C-130J Hercules Reach Even Further

Voyager is famous for being the UK Royal Air Force’s only air-to-air refueling (AAR) tanker that also doubles as a transport aircraft for personnel or critical cargo. Its refueling capabilities are often connected to fast jets, allowing them the required endurance for certain tasks. But this recent demonstration confirmed its ability to also fuel larger aircraft, a critical component for missions in remote locations.
RAF's Voyager successfully refueled a large C-130J Hercules aircraft 6 photos
RAF's Voyager Refules the C-130J HerculesRAF's Voyager Refules the C-130J HerculesRAF's Voyager Refules the C-130J HerculesRAF's Voyager Refules the C-130J HerculesRAF's Voyager Refules the C-130J Hercules
This 192-foot (58.8 meters) tanker can normally deliver up to 132,000 lbs (60,000 kg) of fuel at 500 nautical miles (575 miles/930 km) from the base. When refueling fighter jets, it operates in a trail, flying together with them. But it can also orbit around a designated area, waiting for receivers, operating a towline.

When it’s not in charge of refueling, it can safely take up to 291 troopers to where they need to operate or carry three critical care patients and up to 40 stretchers in its aeromedical configuration.

The recent training sortie with a C-130J Hercules is a great reminder of the fact that Voyager helps not only fast jets but large aircraft as well. The Hercules’ crew needs to get regular training on receiving fuel safely from the Voyager. This allows the large, wide-range aircraft to reach even further.

Recently, the Hercules was able to drop supplies as far as the Sky-Blu Field Station in the Antarctic as part of the Exercise Austral Endurance in the Falkland Islands. It was only able to do so thanks to the Voyager.

Other missions where Hercules required an extended range were the humanitarian airdrops onto Mount Sinjar in 2014 and long-range parachute insertions in Eastern Europe.

RAF’s Voyager also works well with other military forces’ jets. Most recently, it proved its strength during AAR sorties with the U.S. Marines’ F/A-18 Hornets. These were carried out as part of the NATO Air Response in Eastern Europe, following the invasion of Ukraine.

press release

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