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The Vespina refuels two F-35B from RAF Marham. (All images: RAF/Crown Copyright)

Yesterday we reported about the maiden flight of the RAF A330 Voyager ZZ336 with its brand new (and controversal) livery. Following its arrival at RAF Brize Norton airbase, the aircraft was immediately rushed back to its primary task: aerial refueling. On Jun. 26, flying as TARTAN 58, the “special” Voyager took part in AAR ops with RAF Lightning and Typhoon fighters during Exercise CRIMSON OCEAN.

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The Vespina refuels two F-35B from RAF Marham.

Noteworthy, the tanker and its receivers could be tracked online on ADSBExchange website.

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Tantan 58 refueling F-35B as seen on ADSBExchange website. (Image via @RAF100_2020)

The RAF refers to the aircraft as “Vespina”, from Operation VESPINA, the name for A330 Voyager VIP missions. In fact, the aircraft will perform (along with AAR) transport missions for Government Ministers and the Royal Family.

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A Typhoon flies alongside the Vespina and F-35Bs.

Exercise CRIMSON OCEAN allows the Royal Navy and RAF to train and hone their ability to deliver routine fighter and helicopter operations in a range of environments from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Lightning aircraft from 617 Squadron have been onboard the carrier since 10th June when they left their base at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

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Image shows F-35B, callsign Ghost, refuelling on ZZ336.

After the mission, the Royal Air Force posted some really cool aerial shots on their official website, along with a clarification about the way has been painted on the aircraft for all those people who are not aware of the convention among all the air forces for the flag to appear as it flying from a pole on the nose:

Despite appearances the flag design is correct in all respects and follows the convention for the flag to appear as though it is flying from a flag placed on the nose of the aircraft, as it travels through the air. When viewing the starboard side (right hand side), this can give the mistaken impression that the design is backwards, or upside down, when in fact the observer is simply viewing the reverse side of the flag.

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This RAF F-35B model is available from AirModels. Click here to buy yours.