The RAF is looking to sell off its BAE 146 transport fleet, aircraft primarily used to transport the Royal Family and other VIPs.
Jane’s 360 was first to report on this news after noticing that the Defense Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) included the BAE 146 aircraft in a brochure at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) industry event.
The BAE 146 fleet consists of two BAe 146-100s and designated in RAF service as the BAE 146 CC Mk2, along with two BAE 146-200QC (Quick Change) variants with a large freight door in the rear fuselage.
BAE Systems converted the latter aircraft and delivered them to the RAF in 2013 when they were designated as the BAe 146 C Mk3.
Last year, BAE Systems was awarded a four-year £42 million contract from the Ministry of Defence for the support of the fleet of four BAE 146 aircraft operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron from RAF Northolt in West London.
The contract commenced on March 1, 2018 and runs until 2022. There were reportedly options in the contract for extensions of one or two years.
Taking their place would be a refitted Voyager usually tasked with flying senior ministers to global events and summits.
The Voyager aircraft was refitted at a cost of about £10m, in order to save about £775,000 per year as the plane will be cheaper than chartering flights, delivering significant savings for the taxpayer say the MoD.
Official flights using either Royal Squadron BAE 146 aircraft or long haul charter jets cost on average £6,700 per flying hour while using a Voyager aircraft would cost £2,000, say the MoD.
The Voyager is available for refuelling when not in use.