The BAe-146 is an elegant 4-engine regional jetliner, optimized for short haul or regional routes, and able to handle even short take-off or unimproved runways. It has a reputation for quiet operation, and a range of about 1,800 miles/ 2,900 km under good conditions. Almost 400 of these planes were built from 1983-2002, but it’s probably best known as the Royal Family’s “CC2″ VIP jet. The RAF will soon be ferrying troops and cargo with it as well; its 2 CC2s will be joined by a pair of converted BAe-146-200QCs, whose mission brief will include trips into Afghanistan.
Britain’s Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) buy was prompted by pressure on its transport fleet. The RAF’s 7-plane C-130K Hercules fleet will be retired from use by the end of 2012. Bad timing, that, as Britain needs to remove its troops and equipment from Afghanistan. Worse, the RAF’s first Airbus A400M transports aren’t even scheduled for delivery until 2014, let alone operational use in combat zones. Enter the BAe-146M solution, which the firm began promoting at DSEi 2009…
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