RAF

'Union Flag' VIP Voyager Returns To Operational Duties

The aircraft performed air-to-air refuelling drills alongside Lightning and Typhoon jets.

A Royal Air Force Voyager has returned to its primary operational training role, after going through £900,000 of maintenance.

Following its makeover, which included a new paint job featuring the Union Flag, the aircraft returned to RAF Brize Norton as has resumed its function as an air-to-air refuelling (AAR) plane.

Taking to the skies with Lightning and Typhoon jets during Exercise Crimson Ocean, the VIP Voyager has been given the go ahead to transport troops again.

The Voyager, which is used to transport the Prime Minister, royals and senior cabinet ministers, has gone from grey to bright white, with a Union Flag on the aircraft's tail and a blue stripe, funded by the Ministry of Defence.

Downing Street has insisted the Union Flag has been painted on "properly", after questions were raised online.

The plane is known as 'Vespina' and made its first public appearance post-makeover flying from Cambridge to RAF Brize Norton yesterday afternoon.

It is hoped an image of a more global Britain would be reflected by giving the plane a new look.

The military aircraft has resumed its operational training role of refueling other planes (Picture: MOD).

The joint Royal Navy-RAF exercise saw the Voyager able to meet operation expectations, according to Wing Commander Alistair Scott, Officer Commanding 10 Squadron.

"The new livery looks superb but the reality is that flying this aircraft is no different to any of the other aircraft that make up the Voyager Force," he said.

"It is capable of conducting the same essential Defence tasks, not least of which is the air-to-air refuelling role that allows us to deploy our Typhoon and Lightning aircraft to every corner of the globe."

The drills test aerial capability launched from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Cover image: MOD.