Under the £80 million ‘Command Support Air Transport Recapitalisation’ contract, four Royal Air Force BAe 146 transport aircraft will be replaced by two civil business jets.

The business jets will owned by the Ministry of Defence but operated on the Civil Aircraft Register and initially operated by contractor-provided civilian pilots.

According to the tendering announcement that can be found here:

“The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) currently operates a military fleet of BAe146 transport aircraft from RAF Northolt that will be withdrawn from service on 31 March 2022. The CSAT RECAP project aims to replace this capability by adopting a procurement strategy featuring two phases:

1. Phase 1: Competitive procurement of two civil Business Jets to be Accepted by 31 Mar 22 with an in-service support package that will run until 31 March 2024. Six, six-month Option periods (totaling 3 years) will be included in the Contract for continuation of the phase 1 in-service support as required. These aircraft will be owned by the MoD but operated on the Civil Aircraft Register and initially operated by contractor-provided civilian pilots. Phase 1 also includes the training of military pilots and cabin crew and the use of these service personnel to compliment the civilian pilots in the delivery of the service.

2. Phase 2: A separate competitive procurement for the embodiment of military modifications on the aircraft, from 1 April 2024 (subject to take-up of options), and provision of in-service support utilising military personnel in the operation of the aircraft, with an associated transfer of aircraft to the Military Aircraft Register.”

The contract tender notice lists the following as the description of the procurement. The below highlights that the aircraft will need to achieve a minimum unrefuelled range of 3,850nm from an unrestricted airfield transporting up to 8 passengers, 3 crew and associated baggage.

“CSAT RECAP Phase 1 requires delivery of 2 Aircraft to the Authority. Time is of the essence for the delivery of these 2 Aircraft, this shall be measured on whether the Aircraft are both Accepted by 31 March 2022. The Aircraft may initially be based from an Operating Base of the Contractor’s choosing or RAF Northolt (NHT) but must transition to RAF NHT (which will become the Main Operating Base (MOB)) by Phase 1 Full Operating Capability (FOC).

The Aircraft will need to achieve a minimum unrefueled range of 3,850nm from an unrestricted airfield transporting up to 8 passengers, 3 crew and associated baggage. The CSAT Recap Aircraft will be owned by MoD but will be leased back to the Contractor and operated during the period of Phase 1 on the Civil Aircraft Register by the Contractor who will assume all airworthiness responsibility.

CSAT RECAP Phase 1 requires delivery of up to 980 flying hours in the first year ending 31 March 2023 and up to 1200 flying hours in the second year, ending 31 March 2024 from the two Aircraft that are available. These services are to be available 7 days per week, 365 days per year from the Contractors Operating Base and/or the MOB. CSAT Recap requires delivery of a support arrangement that will incorporate all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance arisings where risk will be appropriately apportioned to ensure that a high level of Aircraft availability can be reasonably achieved. The solution also requires the Contractor to manage delivery of all Aircraft movements in accordance with tasking from the Authority. While civilian crews are required to pilot the Aircraft in Phase 1, this phase also includes a requirement to train an initial cadre of RAF pilots and cabin crew to supplement the civilian pilots in delivering the flying hours.”

The jets will owned by the MoD and initially operated by contractor-provided civilian pilots.

We reported last year that replacements for the BAE 146 aircraft were being considered. James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, responded at the time:

“The current fleet of four BAe 146 aircraft are planned to be retired from Service on 31 March 2022. Replacements for those aircraft are currently under consideration as part of normal capability planning. The fleet of 14 Voyager will continue to support the collective Air Transport task including VIP and Command Support Air Transport tasking.”

Confirmation that Royal BAe 146 aircraft to be replaced

The aircraft primarily used to transport the Royal Family and other VIPs. It is rumoured that the BAe 146 fleet will be replaced with “Global 5000 series aircraft or similar” jets but that is only speculation.

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Geo
Geo
11 days ago

Well if you are buying civilian aircraft…..its a buyers market. Surely even MoD can’t get a bad deal on this ?

Chris
Chris
11 days ago
Reply to  Geo

Surely even MoD can’t get a bad deal on this ?”

MoD Pocurement: “Hold my beer…” 😂

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago
Reply to  Chris

** “Hold my English champagne and caviar that honestly hasn’t been provided by the money allocated for procurement old chap…”

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

testing the market old chap, it’s just doing a good job by personally visiting every business jet manufacturer in the world and holding Pre procurement reviews over dinner.

Geo
Geo
11 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Probably sadly true 😬

that guy
that guy
11 days ago

Civillian planes are extremely cheap at the moment, this is the time to buy!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago

Read of this several days ago. Was wondering when UKDJ would get round to
it.

Good stuff.

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago

Good stuff indeed.

I assume the argument of 4 -> 2 will be explained away with the use of at least two NEOs from Titan? As in, “we’ll still have four available, but only two are MoD property?”

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

I guess so. I recall the article on those here.
We also lost the 125s.

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago

The InterCity locos? 😎😉

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Wow, you’ve started early! It’s not Friday yet! Carry on…..

Lusty
Lusty
9 days ago

I thought you of all people would enjoy that one.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
11 days ago

Sad to see one of the last British designed and built civilian planes leave service, they served us well. They’ll probably continue on in Civilian service for a few more years, because of there short field landings, ideal for short hall and regional airlines

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
11 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

No short haul and regional airline wants an elderly quad jet even with its short field capability. By in large the Dash 8 and the ATR 72 have supplanted the type in that market, the economics work our far better. Those airlines that want a jet rather than a turboprop prefer types like the Embraer E-Jet family these days. There is still a small niche market for the 146/RJ85 performing tasks like air freight and firefighting but its days as an airliner are rapidly coming to an end.

expat
expat
10 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Sad but true, its was to be a test bed for a hybrid electric aircraft but sadly that was chopped by Airbus. Ironically 4 engine airframes would be the best starting point for a hybrid with 2 turbines with a generator at its core driving 2 electric fans but there’s virtually non in production.

lee1
lee1
10 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

We could just surely replace them with new 146s? Wright aerospace are just planning to go into production with some electric powered versions…

Cormac
Cormac
11 days ago

They probably get two embraer e170s or similar sized aircraft

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago

And a few of these wouldn’t go a miss. Depending on the missiles of course!

The AAC version which could carry small drones would also be back on the cards and relatively cheap as a deterrent if nothing else.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/land-forces/latest/german-leopard-2-tested-with-trophy-aps-for-first-time

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I assume the wings and engines are retractable? It looks a bit tight for a crew of three as well as eight passengers… 😂

Anthony Merrill
Anthony Merrill
11 days ago

Should be a quick and easy procurement exercise with plenty of commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions to choose from and a thriving second hand market for biz jets. Shouldn’t take more than an six months for the tender process and no more than a couple of years to deliver the aircraft. Particularly now that the MoD is no longer subject to EU procurement rules.

James Fennell
James Fennell
11 days ago

DE&S have made the procurement complex by insisting its contractor operated for phase 1 – while RAF aircrew are trained. That will no doubt make it expensive and limit options to UK-based Bizjet operating companies.

Simon Harcourt
Simon Harcourt
11 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Not sure why this should be complicated. It will be initially be a civilian registered aircraft operating under civilian regulations and operated by civilian crew. Just managed aircraft like any other. Military pilots to fly the aircraft will be trained using civilian facilities over the first 3 years.

Simon Harcourt
Simon Harcourt
11 days ago

They don’t have 6 months to tender and 2 years to deliver the aircraft. The contract is for the aircraft to be owned by the MOD and ‘in service’ but on a civil register, operated by civilian crew by 31 March 2022. Tenders to be in by 29 November. Initial contract to run for 3 years with option to extend for up to an additional 3 years in 6 month blocks. After first 3 years intent is for the aircraft to transfer to Military operation.

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 days ago

What is interesting is they are pretty much doubling the range requirement as 146w only have a 1800 to 2000nm range ( although there were some options with inflight refuelling capacity).

John Hartley
John Hartley
11 days ago

On globalplanesearch website, I found 3x 2015 Global 5000. Only one had a public listed price of $19.5m. I assume the other 2 would be similar.
New Global 5500 would be better, but cost $46m each, so over budget?

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
11 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Global 5000 and 5500 goes rather beyond what the requirements sets out. A closer fit if we are talking Bombardier is the Challenger 650. The Gulfstream G400 and Dassault Falcon 2000LXS also closely match the requirement and no doubt Embraer and Cessna offer suitable type without looking deeply into their product portfolio.

Steve M
Steve M
11 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

just refit sentinel R1’s already have those airframes

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

That would be more expensive

Simon Harcourt
Simon Harcourt
11 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Don’t think the Challenger 650, G400 or 2000LXS will ‘cut the mustard’ as they will not meet the requirement of 3850nm range with 8 pax and 3 crew on board. Need to go up a class to make that. So Global 5000, Gulfstream G500, Falcon 7x would be contenders in my opinion. If you can find any in the short timescale post contract award of course.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
10 days ago
Reply to  Simon Harcourt

Your wrong, all three of them comfortably meet the requirement, performance wise they exceed the capability to fly 3850nm with 8 pax and 3 crew. They can all fly 4000nm at least with 12 passengers and crew.

Simon H
Simon H
9 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

I am content to stand corrected sir.

Last edited 9 days ago by Simon H
Steve M
Steve M
11 days ago

Not sure 2 x 8 seat intercontinental business jets will effectively replace 19seat vip aircraft and definitely not the c3 transports, i thought VIP role being done by Boris1 (a330) & Boris2 (a320) ?

James Fennell
James Fennell
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

I think these are the not-for-boris jets

Steve M
Steve M
11 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

i know these are additional, which what i find confusing, they refitted 1 Voyager for long range VIP and have contracted 2 A321 for European VIP government use. So what are these required for they cannot do the 146 jobs with less then half the pax capacity for the C2 and much less than http://ftnews.firetrench.com/2013/04/bae-systems-delivers-bae-146-c-mk-3-aircraft-to-uk-royal-air-force/ If we were buying C-295 or Q-400 (don’t think have freight) i could understand

John Hartley
John Hartley
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

There are a couple of ex Jordanian C295 available for an asking price of $40m the pair. Would do the non VIP CSAT stuff, light cargo, troop movement when the C-130s go.

John Hartley
John Hartley
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Just checked, Airforces mag, Aug 2021, says the ex Jordanian pair of C295 are stored at Airbus Seville. The asking price is said to be £38.6m.

John Hartley
John Hartley
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Sorry $38.6m

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Arguably this is not a direct like for like replacement for the 146, rather a reconfiguration of the VIP fleet depending on need. So the UK will have one dedicated long range wide body, two dedicated long range narrow body and two small long range business jets. The C3 transport role is dropped as that was a UOR for Afghanistan. So if a single minister is going on a low key diplomatic mission they can go on the business jet. If it is a larger state visit then either the A330 or A321 can be used depending on size of… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
10 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

You see the C3’s flying around Northern Europe nearly daily! especially to the NATO Air policing detachments so unless we are going to use A400’s in more pax roles like the herc’s used to be what will fill these flights

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

That they have found a use doesn’t change the reality that they were a UOR and not part of the core fleet. My guess they will try and use A400M for some of the taskings and the rest will go to civil charter operators. It looks to me the MOD is balancing the VIP fleet into 3 tiers which is sensible imho. I think the UK should operate a couple of C295 or Dornier 328 (C-146A Wolfhound)…or similar.

Steve M
Steve M
10 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

yep, so back to where we used to be!!, HS125’s, 146’s / Andovers (which also used to fly weekly schedule to Germany- RAF Wildenrath if i remember -it was over 30 years ago i was there) and VC-10’s which could be re-role as required to VIP fit, plus few Gazelle’s which been replace now by 1 single A109.
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

but agree 3 or 4 C-295 type aircraft for schedule Admin flights would be useful addition so doubt we will see it.

Last edited 10 days ago by Steve M
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Nice outline actually. All makes sense and seems sensible to me?

Lusty
Lusty
9 days ago

Agreed.

At least we’re actually getting replacements – and two types at that. For a moment, it really looked like we’d be down to Hair Force One and the lone chopper. 

Knight7572
Knight7572
11 days ago

So these Business jets have to replace the retired British Aerospace 125-600B, British Aerospace 125-700B and the Bae 146-100

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
11 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

The last BAe 125 retired from the 32 (Royal) Squadron in 2015.

James Fennell
James Fennell
11 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

There are already two A-321s leased – so will complement those.

Klonkie
Klonkie
11 days ago

didn’t the MOD recently leases an A321 from Tian for this purpose?

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
11 days ago

The eternal MOD arithmetic: Replace 4 with 2…

James Fennell
James Fennell
11 days ago

Although the extra two 146s were UOR freighters to fill in low-threat tasks which C-130s were undertaking in Afghanistan/ Iraq, and two A-321s have been leased already..

Wally
Wally
11 days ago

Why civilian aircrew? They will be owned by the MOD,operate by RAF aircrew

Lord Gudgeon of Trent.
Lord Gudgeon of Trent.
10 days ago

Why not a pair of hand me down 737s must be as cheap to operate.

Stc
Stc
10 days ago

Is anyone asking: Are they really necessary ? When we face the threat of hypersonic missiles, an army close to crisis. Ajax etc etc. Strikes me these aircraft of for jollies for the MOD senior staff, which will eventually use up pilots who are employed to defend Blighty. Can they just not make do with what the RAF already have? I am sure many members of the armed forces have to make do without the perfect tool for the jod.Snap land rovers overseas comes to mind. And that cost some of them their lives and others serious life changing injuries… Read more »

expat
expat
10 days ago

Shame cos these 146’s really take some besting, quite literally. I’ve seem softer carrier landings 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c0eaofrdTo&ab_channel=dutchvolvofan

Last edited 10 days ago by expat
Expat
Expat
10 days ago

Perhaps a bit premature if to dump the 146s if we want to go carbon neutral 😐.

https://www.flightglobal.com/airframers/wright-developing-all-electric-variant-of-bae-146/146256.article

Jake
Jake
10 days ago

The problem with this is it leaves the RAF having the a400 as its smallest fixed wing transport aircraft; that’s a whole lot of aircraft! Personally, I’d scrap the current a321neo the government is using and instead pick up four 737s (which are in abundance and cheap on the secondhand market) and replace like-for-like with the 146s with two being for cargo and the other two being VIP. Overall, it’s a decent sized plane with range, can operate out of Northolt, and could be simpler/cheaper for the RAF in the long run as it currently grows its the same platform… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
10 days ago

“Transporting up to 8 people & their baggage”? Seems ridiculously few people for such an aircraft Should that be 80? Looked at wiki & 80 seems right.

Russell freeman
Russell freeman
9 days ago

British Airways had two
A318 in business spec for sale

John Roberts
John Roberts
9 days ago

Just buy a couple of Cessna for them

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
8 days ago

Off subject maybe, but regarding the transportation of military personnel, I heard a rumour that personnel sent to Africa, went on chartered flights, which cost the MOD £1M.

Comments welcome …

Nigel Osmond
Nigel Osmond
14 hours ago

The 146s were also able to be fitted out for the medevac role being much cheaper to operate than the Hercules or A400.
2 x BBJ fitted with cargo doors not only offers some commonality with the P8 & E7 but also would give the RAF a “cheaper” medevac aircraft.
Add 2 x B350 (commonality with the Shadow aircraft) to the fleet for shorter haul flights when a jet isn’t required