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BAE to modify used 146-200 transports for Royal Air Force

BAE Systems is to modify two used BAe 146 transports for the UK Ministry of Defence under an urgent operational requirement deal to support operations in Afghanistan.

"The C-17 and CS Project Team intends to place a contract with BAE Systems (Operations) for the upgrade of two second-hand civil BAe 146-200 quick change aircraft," the MoD said on 11 February. The deal will include the design, installation, test and certification of modifications required to allow the passenger type to enter military service, it added. These will include the installation of defensive aids system equipment to meet the UK's theatre-entry standard for operations in Afghanistan.

The MoD in late December announced it was seeking expressions of interest from potential suppliers of two second-hand BAe 146 aircraft "to enable the safe transport of troops and freight in theatre". The acquisition is planned to ease the strain on its in-theatre use of the larger Lockheed Martin C-130J/K for short-duration flights.

Once fielded, the used aircraft will double the RAF's inventory of BAe 146s, with two -100 examples already in use with the service's 32 (The Royal) Sqn, at Northolt air base near London.

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