The future of 32 (The Royal) Squadron was recently left in doubt when it was revealed that the RAF was looking to sell off its BAE 146 transport fleet, aircraft primarily used to transport the Royal Family and other VIPs.

It is now rumoured that the BAE 146 transport fleet will be replaced with “Global 5000 series aircraft or similar”.

The Global 5000 was launched in February 2002. It can carry between 8 and 19 passengers. The firm say there is an optional private room aft and the galley has room to prepare 16 five-course meals.

The jet was priced at $40 million in 2008, it has forward and aft lavatories. I’ll save you more specs, it’s a private jet, you get the idea.

In 2017, Ministers were ‘urged to show solidarity‘ with workers at the Bombardier aerospace factory in Northern Ireland and select the C-Series aircraft, part-built in Belfast, as the new jet for the Queen’s Flight. That aircraft type is now now marketed by Airbus and built by Airbus Canada, a joint venture with the original manufacturer Bombardier.

More recently however, the Global 5000 series has been touted as the favourite choice.

A source in the Royal Air Force told me on condition of anonymity:

“The plan is to replace them with an unknown (small) number of Global 5000s or similar.

The objective is to purchase/lease similar biz jets as the Royals keep chartering, to encourage the Royals to actually use 32 (The Royal) Sqn. They specifically dislike the 146s & the Queen has issued specific instruction that if she dies overseas she is not to be flown back in a 146.”

The source added:

“The plan was for the replacement to enter service in 2023, although it’s currently unfunded. So I’d say it’s tentative at best.”

Whatever the aircraft chosen, don’t expect anything official on this for some time.

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Herodotus
11 months ago

Surprised that they didn’t do this years ago. A much more practical aircraft in terms of running costs!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago

I wonder what HM dislikes so much that she is not even to be brought back dead,heaven forbid, in one?

Herodotus
11 months ago

Probably that her son likes to fly them, until he was banned. Remember he pranged one up on a Scottish Island!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I had no idea and just looked that up. Slanderous talk! But who knows.

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

He did, but who got the blame ? The RAF pilot !

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

Well, he did hand-over control of the plane to Charles. I understand that this wasn’t appropriate! The repair bill was around a million….that would have been footed by the MOD…as there is no insurance for military assets! Charles gave up his pilots licence the following year…if I remember correctly!

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

He did, but for some reason Charles has the rank of Group Captain in the RAF but even if he wasn’t if he insisted on taking over what’s the poor old RAF officer to do ? He gave up piloting service aircraft not his licence. They always have a senior service pilot alongside when they ‘take control of the aircraft’.

DaveyB
DaveyB
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

Regardless of rank, the person who signs out the aircraft as the aircraft’s captain has sole authority for the operation of the aircraft. So in this case the aircraft’s captain should have intervened to stop the aircraft being placed in danger. Hence, why they got the blame.

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Yes…exactly, and as any decent Sgt Major would have said ” with all due respect sir…no you are fucking not”!

Ian
Ian
11 months ago

They do feel a little claustrophobic inside, due to the wing and engine configuration. The wing and engine activity also tends to encroach into the cabin.

But certainly not as claustrophobic as a coffin should you ever wake up in one.

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian

They also suffered intermittent engine air-bleed problems for cabin pressurisation. Would often result in nausea amongst passengers!

Ian
Ian
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

And there’s me thinking it was the wife’s nagging!

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Air hostess to sick passenger “excuse me sir, do you have vertigo”….”no, only as far as Birmingham airport”!

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
11 months ago

In the end they are an Elderly Regional jet that is not operated by many Airlines anymore. Even with a VIP fitout they are probably not as comfy as a modern Long Range Business jet with their modern EFIS fit. Also if they go technical out of the country it probably takes longer to get them fixed which might be why HM doesn’t want the embarrassment of her journey home in a coffin delayed. In reality it is increasingly unlikely that the Queen will pop her clogs abroad considering her age, most of her international commitments are picked up by… Read more »

john
john
11 months ago

Leave her where she falls, then there is no problem.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago

32 Sqn is more than just the 146’s though. What of the 125’s?

Herodotus
11 months ago

Would have thought they would go as well. The 5000 has a range of 6000nm…a somewhat more useful piece of kit!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Hope so.

Rob
Rob
11 months ago

The 125s were retired and put up for sale a few years ago. I don’t know if they have actually sold them, although one is on display at Northolt.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Just checked, I missed that Rob.

Herodotus
11 months ago

The Global 5000 is a far more practical aircraft for Senior Government/Head of state transportation. I know that Bojo is a big lad, but he doesn’t need a bloody great A330 to get him around Europe/Middle East or across the Atlantic. Plus, as the galley can provide up to 16 five course meals, this should be ample for Bojo on a transatlantic flight…the others would have to take sandwiches though!

DaveyB
DaveyB
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

It doesn’t compare favourably with other aircraft that Tier 1 countries use for their Heads of State. I think even though the Global 5000 series are decent aircraft, they don’t have the right image, it’s a business jet at the end of the day and any lottery winner (euromillions) can afford one. OK, that may sound a bit snobby, but isn’t the Head of Sate representing the country and people. What does it say about us, using a small business jet? No, our Head of State requires a more “showy” aircraft for the needs of State visits, but can also… Read more »

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner
11 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I guess it will be horses for courses: One of the Airbus tankers for big state visits and using the smaller jets for less formal outings.

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

Her Majesty, arriving in a kerosene tanker, how agricultural!

Julian
Julian
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

From the pics I’ve seen the Global 5000, depending on how the cabin is arranged, has the potential to be much more upmarket than the VIP Voyager at least in terms of the facilities available to the prime passenger (e.g. queen or PM) and her/his immediate entourage. Unless there are some bits of the VIP Voyager that I haven’t seen in the photos the talk of a separate rear cabin area in the Global 5000 for maybe a full lie-down bed or private meeting area is superior to VIP-Voyager which looks to me from the pictures to essentially be very… Read more »

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I think it would show that Britain is reducing its carbon-footprint for VIP travel in-line with our national objectives. Setting an example to the US perhaps!

James Fennell
James Fennell
11 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

There is also a Voyager – A330 – equipped for VIP duties if you prefer a grand entry.

Nick C
Nick C
11 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I was in Buenos Aires at the same time as the G20 met last November. The airport was stuffed full of gaudy 747’s, starting with Air Force 1 , the Saudis had two, presumably the second one for the staff and the concubines, and the President of Turkey had the biggest and flashiest 747-8. In amongst all the bling was Mrs May’s Voyager, painted grey. It looked incredibly sinister and very business like, very much on the lines of “don’t mess with me”. Even our Argentine guide remarked on how it made a statement.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
11 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The RAAF has recently leased three new Dassault Falcon 7X business jets (same intercontinental class and range as the Bombardier Global 5000s). They will replace the RAAFs three existing Bombardier Challenger 600s which were smaller and had less range than the Falcons. In some ways a surprising choice given the RAAF is acquiring Grumman G550s for its new ISTAR surveillance aircraft and there would have been some benefits in training and logistics with a common airframe. However the Falcon 7X apparently has a better short field performance than the G550 which may have been a deciding factor by allowing more… Read more »

Ian
Ian
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Bojo would have been flying in Blair-Force-One luxury if comrade Brown hadn’t have scrapped the idea.

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Comrade Brown ? He is nowhere near being a communist or anything like it.

Ian
Ian
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

His most trusted inner circle, Whelan, Mandelson…who shaped policy, were all ex communist party members.
So, he was certainly near communists, if not “Near being a Communist”.

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Not nearly the same thing. They were ex-communists, as you said. The problem with the Blair government – before the Iraq lunacy – was that they did a lot of good but weren’t quite as left as they should have been.

Ian
Ian
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

Well, on the subject of “Left”, they certainly “Left” us with horrendous debts. £34 Billion (Yes, Billion!) for NHS computers, Black Wednesday…all whilst the Champaign Socialists were acquiring impressive property portfolios in Islington.

But that’s enough of that from me…!

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian

£34 Billion (Yes, Billion!) for NHS computers, – you’ll have to reference that for me. Black Wednesday was in 1992 under Major, the ERM debacle. Sorry, I don’t know about property portfolios for champagne etc. Again a reliable source would be useful. Meanwhile, under ‘austerity’ all parts of the national infrastructure and services (police, military in particular) have been criminally cut, all while increasing national debt to 85% of GDP (the limit is supposed to be 60%). If that’s good tory economic management I’d hate to see bad management – though, of course I have. ‘Lord Barber of deficit’ in… Read more »

Ian
Ian
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

Various Articles I read some time ago, Combined IT Cock-Up costs came to about £30 Billion, NHS was £12.7 Billion.

I must revise before I comment in future! Especially when I refer to the Gold Reserve Sell-Off as Black Wednesday…

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labours-computer-blunders-cost-16326bn-1871967.html

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Ok – fair enough.Not everyone thinks the gold sell off was a mistake:- https://www.ft.com/content/5788dbac-7680-11e0-b05b-00144feabdc0 Nor was the UK alone in doing so:- https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/apr/12/gold-gordon-brown-sell-off “The metal’s value had been flat or falling for nearly a decade, and the Canadian, Belgian, Dutch and Austrian central banks – not to mention the International Monetary Fund – had been disposing of theirs for some time” Maybe it was a blunder but in this country the right wing press always paint it as a uniquely Labour one, just like the bank crash was all because of socialist overspending. I could go on about his successes,… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

But that’s the problem. Granted we need to lower our National Debt, but should it be at the expense of providing services to the country through the NHS, Police, military etc? The austerity measures have worked but their implementation has been brutal. Compared to Greece our measures actually worked, but it has cost us dear. Either the Government borrows money or it scrimps by? Is it a case that we don’t pay enough taxes, some would beg to differ? As an institution the Government does not make money, its not like we have nationalised industry any more. So a Government… Read more »

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

you’re forgetting that Bojo needs space to entertain members of his overseas trade delegation….and can you fit a long, steel pole on a business jet?

Herodotus
11 months ago

Just a thought, I wonder if the MOD is considering reconfiguring the Sentinel aircraft back to an executive aircraft. If they pursue the multi-role concept for the P8s, they could end up with five airframes that are basically Global 5000s!

Herodotus
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I think I meant P8/E7s…aren’t the E7s capable of the Sentinel role?

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
11 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

It wouldn’t be cost effective, the cost of removing all the kit and then rebuilding as a business jet would likely be more than buying a used Global 5000.

Leo Jones
Leo Jones
11 months ago

The government charges the royals a large amount to use RAF aircraft, so, they hire commercial instead, as they have a budget to keep to. So, when they go to a funeral overseas perhaps, all the other nation’s royals and presidents are flown in on airforce VIP aircraft and ours fly in on, at worst, a non-British aircraft with a commercial company logo. Ridiculous. The RAF should have a proper VIP fleet like all other nations our size do, with national symbols on.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Leo Jones

Agree. But I would have the Royal Yacht and the Royal Train too.

She’s the Queen FFS.

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Leo Jones

‘The government charges the royals a large amount to use RAF aircraft’ – as iot gives them the money to pay for it I don’t see how they are charged anything.

Derek
Derek
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

The budget of the Royal Household is charged for travel and this budget is fixed by Parliament and so must be managed. I get sent all over the place and I get charged for travel, hotels etc but get reimbursed with funds provided by my Company. They limit what I can spend, just as the Royal household is limited in what she can spend when on business. They also have personal income (taxable) which they can spend as they please, just like like me. It’s interesting that The Queen and I are identical in how these rules apply. Nothing to… Read more »

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Derek

As I said they ‘pay’ for these things out of a money provided to them.

Derek
Derek
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

As I said, so do I. So does everyone else who travels on business. The NHS pays travel expenses, Social Services pay travel expenses, every Company in the World pays traveling expenses to those traveling away from home to carry out work or to a destination other than their work base.

In the case of the Royal Household it’s for representing U.K. plc. Exactly the same as everyone else. Have you ever actually had a job?

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  Derek

‘Have you ever actually had a job?’ – a tad unnecessary, don’t you think. The point is that the ‘royal family’ don’t pay teh services for anything. It comes out of a budget provided for them.

David Flandry
David Flandry
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

People do not consider the revenue the Royal family provides in the form of tourism. You can hardly hear yourself around Buckingham Palace what with the constant whir of Japanese cameras.

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  David Flandry

On the contrary, it’s always mentioned. yet most years Paris is the most visited city in the world without any need for a monarchy. People still visit Versailles in their millions, with the ludicrous expectation of seeing a ‘royal’.

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

‘without’, of course.

Expat
Expat
11 months ago

In my view BAe should have gone after Bombardie and BAe made mistake selling their Airbus stake years ago. Airbus saw the value and Boeing the threat, the new C Series is a good aircraft.

Simon m
Simon m
11 months ago

The problem for me is not the VIP aspect, but we recently purchased some for use in Afghanistan and this seems to show we have a potential gap in in capabilities. I guess there is zero chance of a C27J Spartan purchase?

Will Dutton
Will Dutton
11 months ago

Hmmmm, The Royals don’t like the 146, it needs to be replaced anyway, but what they want shouldn’t dictate what we buy, if this is true. If she carks it, don’t bother or send her back on a ship.

dan
dan
11 months ago

Beggars can’t be choosers. lol

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
11 months ago

Well, if you wanted the cheapest replacement, buy 2nd hand. A 2001 ex Swedish BRA RJ100 (one of the last built) can be bought for around £5 million. A 2012 Hawker 900XP can be bought for around $5 million. I would love 32 sqn to get a pair of new Global 5500, but they are $45 million each. Does the MoD have a spare $90 million?

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
11 months ago
Reply to  JohnHartley

Just checked. Flight International, June 2018 says a new Global 5500 costs $46 million.
Ten year old Global 5000 are listed on globalplanesearch for around $15 million.

HF
HF
11 months ago

‘it’s a private jet, you get the idea’ – I’d rather get the jet……

Grubbie
Grubbie
11 months ago

Who the hell does she think she is?!?!
Why did we abolish the queen’s flight only to replace it with (the royal) squadron?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Grubbie

We did not really “Replace it” as at the time 32 already existed. The two merged, and TQF left Benson to join 32 at Northolt.

Thus the title 32 ( Royal )

Most of 32’s assets were not used by the Royal Household I believe, but by the MoD.

The queen charters her own Helicopter now I believe? A nice Purple one?

Grubbie
Grubbie
11 months ago

We just don’t need (royal)

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Grubbie

Oh! Ok. I’m a Monarchist myself, and proudly so. So I will leave it there.

Simon m
Simon m
11 months ago

Afro RJ100 looks a good fit?

HF
HF
11 months ago

Comments being moderated ?