|Vickers VC10 Aircraft|
The VC10 CMK1K’s were converted to the AR role in 1993 with the fitting of a Mk32 refuelling pod under the outboard section of each wing. The aircraft can carry up to 154,000lbs of fuel using its original eight fuel tanks; the fuel can be used to feed the aircraft itself or be dispensed to receiver aircraft that are equipped with a probe-anddrogue refuelling system. Capable of refuelling two aircraft simultaneously from the two under-wing pods, the Vickers VC10 CMk1K can itself be refuelled from a suitably equipped Vickers VC10K or Tristar AR aircraft by the use of an air refuelling probe, which is permanently attached to the aircraft nose. The aircraft is equipped with a modern flight-management system and the avionics required for full worldwide operations. The crew comprises two pilots, a weapons systems officer, a flight engineer, an air loadmaster and up to three air stewards.
VC10 MkK3 and VC10 MkK4
The bulk of the RAF’s single-role AR fleet comprises VC10s of two different variants, the K3 and K4. Each aircraft is a three-point tanker, with fuel being dispensed from the two wing-hoses or from the single fuselage-mounted Hose Drum Unit (HDU). The wing hoses can transfer fuel at up to 2200lbs per minute and are used to refuel tactical fast-jet aircraft. The HDU can transfer fuel up to 4400lbs per minute and is usually used to refuel ‘heavy’ strategic aircraft, although it can also be used by fast-jet aircraft.
Each tanker variant of VC10 carries a different fuel load. The K3 is equipped with fuselage fuel tanks, mounted in the passenger compartment, and can carry up to 78 tonnes of fuel. These internal tanks are missing from the K4, which has a maximum fuel load of 68 tonnes. For self defence, the aircraft’s only counter measures are its recent change to a low Infrared paint scheme (grey), a radar-warning receiver and a Matador IRCM missile-protection system, which comprises two Infrared jammers mounted under the engines at the rear of the aircraft. The aircraft also has a very limited passenger-carrying capacity used almost exclusively to carry ground crew and other operational support personnel.
The VC10 is now reaching the end of its Service life, but continual modifications maintain the aircraft as a significant asset, enabling the rapid deployment of troops and their weaponry, and fast-jet fighter aircraft, to any theatre of operations around the world. VC10 is Dual-role passenger/freight transport or air refuelling (AR) aircraft. Carries 137 passengers or 45,000lbs freight. Operates a two-station or three-station air refuelling pod. Capable of refuelling tactical fast-jet or heavy strategic aircraft. Able to dispense 68 or 78 tonnes of fuel depending on aircraft type.