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RAF augments air transport fleet with new aircraft

18th April 2013 - 16:49 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The Royal Air Force (RAF) has taken delivery of two BAe 146-200 Quick Change (QC) aircraft from BAE System following their conversion into military tactical transport aircraft by BAE Systems Regional Aircraft.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) acquired the aircraft under a £15.5 million urgent operational requirement (UOR) contract in response to a requirement from the RAF for additional transport aircraft ahead of the withdrawal of troops and transport from Afghanistan. The aircraft, designated BAe 146 C Mk.3 in RAF service, will expand the RAF’s existing airlift capabilities, largely provided currently by the C-130 Hercules fleet.

BAE Systems has been responsible for the design and integration of the equipment to be fitted to the aircraft, the sourcing of the equipment and management of the supply chain and overall management of the conversion programme. The actual conversion was carried out at the Hawker Beechcraft Services, Chester facility under sub-contract to BAE Systems.

The aircraft have been fitted with specialist military equipment, including a Defensive Aids System, a Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system; and HF and UHF radio communications systems and a SATCOM satellite communications system have been installed. An armoured flight deck has also been incorporated along with fuel tank inertion, air conditioning upgrades and a fire protection D-C system in the baggage bay.

The BAe 146 C Mk.3 is equipped with a large 131 inch wide and 76 inch high (3.33m x1.93m) rear upward-opening freight door giving a large aperture for the easy loading of pallets, containers and awkwardly-shaped cargo. The large cabin volume of the aircraft will allow up to 23,500 lbs (10.6 tonnes) of freight to be carried.

BAE Systems has also cleared a palletised freight layout for use on these aircraft, rather than the usual BAe 146QC freight igloos, to allow easier transhipment of loads between differing aircraft types in the RAF transport fleet.

After a period of familiarisation and operational trials, both aircraft have now been declared as Released to Service (RTS) by the MoD. Both aircraft are assigned to the RAF’s 32 (The Royal) Squadron which already operates two BAe 146 CC Mk 2 aircraft, primarily in the VIP transport role from RAF Northolt in north-west London.

The Shephard News Team


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