Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Super VC10, VC10 C.1, VC10 C1K, VC10 CMk1K, VC10 K.2, VC10 K.3 and VC10 K.4
Origin: United Kingdom
Parent System: VC10
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1964
Total Production: ?
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Description: The Vickers VC10 is a tanker/transport aircraft derived from the VC10 airliner which received civil airworthiness in 1964. The Royal Air Force (RAF) selected the aircraft for a strategic transport requirement in 1960 as the VC10 C.1 with the first of 14 airplanes handed over six years later. Some of these aircraft were fitted with two underwing refueling pods giving them a secondary tanker role (VC10 CMk1K/C1K designations). In the early 1980s, the RAF ordered the nine dedicated VC10 tankers converting five VC10s (K.2 designation) and four Super VC10s (K.3 designation) ex-airliners. The Super VC10 was a stretched variant of VC10 jetliner. In the late 1980s, the RAF took delivery of five additional Super VC10s tankers (K.4 designation).
VC10 is powered by four Rolls Royce Conway 301 turbofan each developing 21,800-pound of thrust. The engines are mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage below the T tail altogether giving the aircraft its peculiar appearance. It can carry up to 150 passengers and 20 tons of cargo or 70 to 80 tons of fuel at ranges of 5,800 to 6,200 kilometers depending on the VC10 variant.
The RAF utilizes two variants of the VC10 aircraft: VC10 C1K and VC10 K3/K4. The first model is assigned to transport and air-to-air tanker roles and can be converted easily into aeromedical evacuation aircraft with capacity for up to 76 stretchers, passenger/freight or freight only. VC10 C1Ks were converted to the dual role in 1993 having the ability to provide air refueling to two fast jets simultaneously. VC10 K3 and K4 are three-point tankers, two underwing refueling hoses and an inner fuselage-mounted hose. The wing hoses transfer 1,000-kg of fuel per minute while the fuselage hose doubles the transfer rate to 2,000-kg per minute. Typically, the wing hoses are used to provide air-to-air refueling to Tornado-sized jets and the other one to larger aircraft. K3 and K4 aircraft operated by No 101 Squadron are based at RAF Brize Norton.
Currently, the RAF selected in 2004 a variant of the Airbus A330 airliner as the replacement for the VC10 aircraft in the tanker-transport role under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) program. VC10s are aging aircraft plagued with obsolescence problems and other issues that can only be addressed through replacement by a modern aircraft.
In October 2006 the Royal Air Force announced that 10 VC10 CMk1Ks completed hardening of their flight deck by a combination of steel and Kevlar armor. This modification was implemented to provide these aircraft with additional protection against hostile fire from the ground in the Persian Gulf area. On September 25, 2013, the Royal Air Force retired from active duty the last VC10 tanker.
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