F-35B refuels from an RAF Voyager over UK airspace for the first time (Picture: RAF).
RAF

RAF Voyager Refuels F-35Bs Over UK Airspace For First Time

The refuelling took place over the North Sea at 19,000 feet.

F-35B refuels from an RAF Voyager over UK airspace for the first time (Picture: RAF).

An F-35B refuels from an RAF Voyager over UK airspace for the first time (Picture: RAF).

The refuelling took place earlier this week over the North Sea at 19,000 feet.

The RAF uses two different Voyagers depending on the aircraft that needs refuelling; the Voyager Mk2 has two underwing pods for refuelling fast jets and the Voyager Mk3 has an additional centreline hose for use by larger aircraft. 

Voyager Captain, 101 Squadron, said: "The Voyager aircraft offers a highly capable Air-to-Air Refuelling capability, with which we provide regular support to many of the RAF’s fixed wing aircraft. 

"Supporting the new F-35B, as it enters service, is a hugely important task for the Voyager Force. 

"(It) builds on the Air-to-Air Refuelling deployment sorties flown from the US to the UK earlier this year." 

F-35B (Picture: RAF).
F-35B (Picture: RAF).

The F-35B is the RAF's most advanced war plane ever, operated by 617 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. 

A Royal Navy F-35B Lightning Pilot, from 617 Squadron, said: "It’s fantastic to be able to link up the UK’s 5th generation asset with the RAF’s Voyager tanker in UK skies for the first time. 

"Being able to refuel from an asset such as Voyager gives the F-35B the ability to deliver world beating air power at range in defence of the nation.”

F-35B refuels over UK airspace (Picture: RAF).
(Picture: RAF).

This comes after the Ministry of Defence (MOD) revealed that five of the UK's 16 F-35B fighter jets (20%) require a fuel tube replacement after engine inspections.

One out of the nine operational aircraft at RAF Marham are affected by the problem, according to the MOD.

The fighter jet recently made history after performing the first Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) on board aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.