BAE Systems proposes A2R version of BAe 146

Notional design of a BAE 146A2R

Notional design of a BAE 146A2R (BAE Systems)

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft is studying a possible air-to-air refuelling (A2R) version of the BAe 146 or Avro RJ. Mark Taylor, Business Director Engineering for BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, outlined the proposed A2R version at the Defence Services Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London. For the A2R mission, the BAe 146 would be fitted with a hose and drogue unit (HDU) and additional fuel tanks within the cabin. The cabin tanks could add up to 18,000 kg of fuel capacity to the 7,000 kg available for transfer from the 146’s standard tanks. BAE Systems believes that a 146A2R could be attractive to air forces that need a refuelling capability but cannot afford larger, purpose-built tankers. According to BAE Systems estimates, an A2R version based on a late-model RJ85 would cost between UKP10 million and UKP 15 million, depending on the specific equipment fit. “We believe that the A2R version of the BAe 146/Avro RJ is a sound business proposition for military planners and air forces that need this capability but who are having to face the financial realities of defence budget cutbacks,” said Mr. Taylor. BAE Systems has been thinking about an A2R version for some time, having carried out proximity flight trials with Hawk jet trainer as far back as 2009. The trials confirmed that the aerodynamic environment behind the 146 is benign, potentially allowing a 146A2R to refuel a wide range of types.

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