A pair of BAe146 Mk2 transport aircraft that served the Royal Air Force since 1986 are to be preserved at aviation museums after their retirement.
The two aircraft will become the latest exhibits at the British Airliner Collection at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, and the South Wales Aviation Museum at St Athan in South Glamorgan.
Operating from RAF Northolt by 32 (The Royal) Squadron, the BAe146 aircraft became a familiar sight in their role transporting senior government ministers, MOD personnel and occasionally members of the Royal Family.
The 146’s defensive aids suite enabled it to safely transport military commanders, personnel and smaller freight items in high-risk environments overseas.
“The BAe146 aircraft have served the UK proudly over many decades, including during numerous operations including Iraq and Afghanistan. After four decades of service, the aircraft have now reached the end of their service lives and I am delighted that the 146s are going to good homes and joining the collections of two fantastic aviation museums,” Air Vice-Marshal Suraya Marshall, commanding officer No 2 Group, commented.
In addition to the Mk2 aircraft, the Royal Air Force also operated two BAe146 Mk3 aircraft since 2013. They are also being taken out of service and have been bought by a civilian operator. Each of the four aircraft will be delivered to their respective owners over the coming weeks.
The BAe 146 is a quiet, rugged, self-sufficient aircraft equipped with back-up systems for the ability to operate away from base for long periods with little external support.
The C3 retained the 10ft 11in × 6ft 4in (3.33 × 1.93m) rear-fuselage freight door of the civilian QC model, providing for convenient loading of palletized freight. Alternatively, palletized passenger seats may be rapidly installed.
The Royal Air force is currently looking for a replacement aircraft and is expected to make an announcement soon.