Air International 2008-05
D.Willis - Vickers VC10 /Aircraft of the RAF/ (2)
A receiver's-eye view of refuelling from a VC10 C.1K. This photo was taken by a weapon systems officer in a Tornado GR.4 while taking on fuel for a mission over Iraq.
This photo of VC10 K.3 shows off the aircraft's elegant lines, as well as the guidelines under the wings and the HDU unit under the rear fuselage which helps to guide receiver aircraft. 'Plugged' into the starboard basket is one of the development Eurofighter Typhoons, ZH588.
VC10 C.1K, XV106/'W' of 101 Squadron. All VC10s are now assigned to this unit. This variant has a side cargo door and is used for airtransport as well as air-to-air refuelling.
VC10 K.3, ZA148/’G‘ is a dedicated tanker. This variant can carry the most amount of fuel as it has extra fuel tanks in the cabin.
Tanker VC10 K.4, ZD242/'P', is one of five former British Airways aircraft, which along with the C.1s were converted to tankers to fill the gap left by the retirement of the Victors.
One of the more unusual and less well-known roles of the VC10 is that of nuclear sampling, which involves replacing the underwing Mk32 refuelling pods. The last known occasion when nuclear sampling took place took was in October 2006 when missions were flown from Kadena Air Base on Okinawa by VC10 K.3 ZA150/J after North Korea claimed it had detonated its first nuclear device.
Prior to adopting the current grey scheme, VC10 C.1Ks wore this brighter livery derived from the former Air Transport command. Tanker VC.10s are also now grey, though they previously wore a hemp scheme.