Operational insight: FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft)

The innovative FSTA contract is delivered by AirTanker, a consortium of leading Aerospace and Defence specialists; Babcock, Airbus Group, Rolls-Royce and Thales. Operating from RAF Brize Norton, AirTanker delivers a unique air-to-air refuelling and air transport capability to the UK Armed Forces and their global partners.

In 2008, AirTanker was appointed by the Ministry of Defence to deliver a 27-year contract for strategic air transport and air-to-air refuelling capability to the RAF through the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme.

The aircraft used is known to the RAF as ‘Voyager’ and is an adapted Airbus 330. The fleet of 14 aircraft comprises a core fleet of nine, plus a ‘surge fleet’ of a further five aircraft, which can be leased to civilian airlines but on readiness for recall into military service.

Babcock plays a key role in the delivery of this high profile and high-readiness contract, providing new build infrastructure and facilities management, IT services, motor transport and ground support equipment and ground handling services. Our skilled teams work 24/7 to keep Voyager ready to depart so it can provide fuel to the UK’s Air Defence Fighter aircraft at a moment’s notice.

At a glance:

  • 342 vehicles and items of ground support equipment in the fleet
  • 1,200 customers supported by our IT infrastructure
  • 70 planned maintenance tasks undertaken each month
  • 57 vehicles serviced each month
  • 80 aircraft tow/push backs each month
  • 24,000 litres of water issued to Voyager aircraft each month