The Royal Air Force’s newest aircraft fleet has reached full-service capability with the delivery of a second Envoy IV CC Mk1 jet transport.

The Royal Air Force say here that the Envoy IV aircraft are flown by mixed crews of RAF and civilian pilots with the Command Support Air Transport service provided by Centreline AV Ltd from RAF Northolt. From April 2024, the aircraft will be modified with military upgrades and operated solely by RAF crews from 32 (The Royal) Squadron.

The Envoy replaces the BAe146, which was retired from service in April this year.

“Operated in the Command Support Air Transport role, the aircraft provide assured, secure, timely and discreet air transport of high priority military personnel and small items of mission critical freight to, from and within operational areas. The declaration of full-service capability comes only two months after delivery of the first aircraft.”

Air Commodore Martin, Assistant Chief of Staff, Air Mobility RAF, was quoted as saying:

“Establishing the new Command Support Air Transport service with Envoy IV is the culmination of months of hard work on the part of the RAF, Defence Equipment & Support and our industry partners, Centreline AV Ltd. The aircraft will be working similarly hard to deliver UK influence and diplomacy around the world in the coming months and years.”

You can read more about this here.

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John Hartley
John Hartley
10 days ago

I still think they should have bought a pair of Global 5500, as they would have had bits built in Belfast & RR engines. However, the budget seems contrived to prevent that.

geoff.Roach
geoff.Roach
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Agreed. I don’t know what the cost is here but the Bombardier would have come in around £25 million or so? Maybe a little more.

Dean Johnson
Dean Johnson
8 days ago
Reply to  geoff.Roach

And there is a UK Bombardier service centre at Biggin Hill they could have utilised. Lots more Bombardier spares and support globally than the Falcon also.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
5 days ago
Reply to  Dean Johnson

Interesting. I didn’t know that. As you say…makes good sense.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Not how procurement works, they would have laid out a price for the programme plus minimum performance requirements then gone for best value that meets the requirements.

John Hartley
John Hartley
10 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Yes & no. In the past it was seen as important that VIP aircraft were “British”. That may no longer be possible, but I would have thought our “great & good” would want to promote at least some UK content. I am surprised if that was not part of the criteria. Scrub surprised, more like resigned to the poor decision making of Whitehall.

farouk
farouk
10 days ago

Ok. somebody want to explain this to my single braincell:

“”The Royal Air Force say here that the Envoy IV aircraft are flown by mixed crews of RAF and civilian pilots with the Command Support Air Transport service provided by Centreline AV Ltd from RAF Northolt.””

Steve M
Steve M
10 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Centre AV like Airtanker, and mixed crews probaly due to no RAF pilots qualified to fly left seat as AC due to lack of time on type etc, hence why 2024 so have time to build up type hours

Mark B
Mark B
10 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I’m guessing that it is far cheaper to supply civilian pilots, engineers etc. for this than allocate RAFpersonnel. There is probably not the demand either – people would be sat around doing nothing.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

They certainly do not sit around doing nothing. Engineering was contacted out years ago when the 146 was around.

Mark B
Mark B
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Surely the demand for these flights varies and there may well be times when there is no demand at all?

Mark franks
Mark franks
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

32 the Royal Sqn not is not only used for ministerial duties and occasionally the Royals, The sqn is tasked with flying the chiefs of staffs, compassionate duties, special ops duties and support tasks. Aircraft are often positioned in theatre where needed so I would say the Sqn has a busy flying programme.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
10 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Line servicing has been contracted out for years, the 146s were maintained under contact.

Expat
Expat
10 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Its similar to a ‘wet lease’ in civil aviation by the sound of it.

Mark franks
Mark franks
10 days ago
Reply to  Expat

The aircraft have been bought outright by the MOD,

Bulkhead
Bulkhead
10 days ago

WTF

Steve Salt
Steve Salt
10 days ago

2 aircraft is hardly a ‘fleet’ !

Angus
Angus
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Salt

Your so right,but then the RAF are a shadow of their past when the World is far from stable and over stretched

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Hi Angus,

You are of course right in what you say but I would also point out that aircraft reliability has come on a long way over the last 40 years or more. Exec jets like these are very reliable indeed so the need for ‘spare’ aircraft is much reduced – hence, in part, the reduced fleet size.

Cheers CR

John Stott
John Stott
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Salt

I had a laugh too.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
10 days ago

With increased tensions secure travel with secure comms for politicians and military is more important than ever. These two with the Voyager provide an important capability. Frankly it was a bit embarrassing, insecure and hard to coordinate having leading politicians arriving at summits on commercial. You can’t have a confidential meeting or call commercial. Mad Vlad is not above putting something in the tea to get a point across or stuff up a summit. Neither are the Chinese. About twelve years ago a group of colleagues were in China for an inter governmental conference; one was drugged by a pretty… Read more »

Angus
Angus
10 days ago

Like in Russian its not the people but those in Government that do all the dirty stuff including on their own.
We also have the A320 with Titan which gives the UK a real sound fleet for VIP transport

Barry Humphries
Barry Humphries
9 days ago
Reply to  Angus

A321 Neo operated by Titan.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago

Agreed.

But you know how some in the UK love to criticise that we have VIP aircraft. HM opposition were at it just a few months ago, never mind the other usual 5th columnists on Twitter and the Guardian that shock, horror, we actually have a Voyager with the nations flag on it.

A sad state of affairs.

John N
John N
10 days ago

When I first read the article I thought what the hell is an ‘Envoy IV CC1’? Then I discovered it is actually a Falcon 900.

What is it with the UK that regularly changes the original designation of aircraft to something different? There is a long list.

Anyway….

Here in Oz, the RAAF VIP fleet (operated by No 34 Sqn RAAF), consists of 2 x B737 BBJ and 3 x Falcon 7X, is also a leased fleet.

Plus one of the RAAF owned KC-30A (A330MRTT) has a partial VIP fitout too.

Why the name change?

John Stott
John Stott
10 days ago
Reply to  John N

Because there is a whole bunch of idiots employed in the Ministry of Silly Names Department. They also were responsible for dreaming up the term “aviator” instead of airman and airwoman. Tell you, the loonies have been running the show for years now 😅

John N
John N
10 days ago
Reply to  John Stott

Very good, ha ha!

Must be closely associated with the Ministry of Silly Walks too!

Expat
Expat
10 days ago
Reply to  John Stott

Funny, but sadly a lot of truth in it.

Angus
Angus
10 days ago
Reply to  Expat

How else do you employ all those retired Officers who can’t get a real job? RN and Army have the same.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  John Stott

We like to copy the Americans for some reason.

BATTs are now a SFAB, where SIG was fine. Americans use the term SFAB.

And some intel centres and orgs that I’m not going to list here sound identical to their US counterparts.

I couldn’t believe the aviator description.

We’ll be having RAF Bases next like the US AFB instead of RAF Station.

Last edited 10 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
10 days ago

resident code breaker can you help decoding BATT, SFAB and SIG for me.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Lol, I’m sorry MS!

BATT British Army Training Team.
SFAB Security Force Assistance Brigade. ( Ours has taken No 11 number from 11 Infantry )
SIG Specialist Infantry Group. ( Previous name for SFAB. )

Steve M
Steve M
10 days ago

all closely associated with SNAFU & FUBAR 😀

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Who? The MoD?!😀

Steve M
Steve M
10 days ago

life in uniform is always only 1 step from either, unless it’s gotten a whole lot better

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
10 days ago

Hey now, nothing wrong w/ AFB nomenclature, although admittedly not your tradition! Even w/ your sometimes quaint terminology, observed that RAF exchange officers frequently did well in a target rich environmentl at O Clubs after duty hours! 😁

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

👍 Course not. Yes, it’s not our tradition, we say Station! And I like it that way myself.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
9 days ago

…and my lament: aerodrome became airfield. Soon aeroplane to be airplane; colour to color etc.

John Stott
John Stott
8 days ago

There is more time spent on “diversity and inclusivity” in all three services now IMO which hinders operational effectiveness. And that good old coping mechanism, banter. We sadly now are nothing but an American poodle. A lot of younger folk I know coming out relate how they just bite their tongues. It has gone too far.

Sooty
Sooty
10 days ago
Reply to  John Stott

Careful, or the politically correct police will be on to you.

Klonkie
Klonkie
9 days ago
Reply to  John N

Morning John

Good news on the announced AUS defence review. No doubt this will shift the defence send dial upwards.

John N
John N
8 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

G’day Klonkie,

Good news on the Defence Review? No!!!

The last time the ALP was in Government, Defence spending was cut to 1.6% of GDP (it’s currently above 2.1%).

The person who they’ve put in charge of the review is Stephen Smith, he was the ALP Defence Minister in charge when Defence spending fell to 1.6% back in 2013.

I don’t trust Smith or the ALP, I’d trust them as far as I could throw your old Uncle Helen!

Cheers,

Klonkie
Klonkie
8 days ago
Reply to  John N

Oh gawd, that’s bad news! I saw Albanese on SKY waxing on about the current strategic threat and naively thought this would bode well!

John N
John N
8 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Mate, Albo is a wanker, Smith is an even bigger wanker. If they seriously wanted a transparent independent Defence review they should never have appointed a former ALP party hack, it’s ‘jobs for the boys’ hey? Smith is widely seen as one of the worst Defence Ministers to have served, the guy is a moron. The problem with the review is it gives the Government the time to ‘sit on their hands’ and delay decisions until the publication of the review, and mull it over for even longer. Defence dollars are likely to get ripped away to pay for their… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
8 days ago
Reply to  John N

This does sound bad and in my humble view irresponsible if they cut funding – a sorry state of affairs. It’s no wonder TAXinda Ardern and Albo are cut from the same cloth.

BlueMoonday
BlueMoonday
10 days ago

Has Air Bozo One been repainted yet, or was that coloured in with permanent marker pen?

dan
dan
10 days ago

I wonder if Harry and his lovely wife will be allowed to fly on them? lol

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  dan

No, he’s not a royal.

Farouk
Farouk
10 days ago

Yes he is, a right royal pain in the ……

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

👍

David Flandry
David Flandry
10 days ago

I suppose technically 2 out 2 is the fleet. To me 2 aircraft are a flight.

Klonkie
Klonkie
9 days ago

Does anyone know if the leased A321 is still in service with 32sqn?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

?? You mean the 2 Titan Airways ones?

I don’t think they were with 32.

Klonkie
Klonkie
3 hours ago

sorry for the late reply DM, hope you’re well. Yep, those are the ones I was enquiring about , thanks.

peter fernch
peter fernch
8 days ago

Wow some fleet 2 arcraft