BAE Systems gets contract to modify BAe 146QCs

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a UKP15.5 million contract to BAE Systems to convert two former TNT Airways BAe 146-200QCs to military configuration. BAE Systems will design the necessary modifications, which involve fitting defensive systems and other military equipment, and will manage the program. The conversions will be carried out under sub-contract by Hawker Beechcraft Services at its Broughton plant. Both 146s have already been ferried there, OO-TAY (msn E2211) on 19 March, and OO-TAZ (msn E2188) on 16 April. The two 146s were procured under an urgent operational requirement (UOR); they will be used to support the withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan, helping fill a gap created by the retirement of the RAF’s Lockheed C-130s and the late delivery of its Airbus Military A400Ms. Because of Afghanistan’s hot and high conditions and the heavy equipment carried by soldiers, in RAF service the 146QCs will probably be able to carry fewer than the 96 passengers carried in commercial use.

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