BAE of­fers BAe-146 air tanker vari­ant


Build­ing on the suc­cess of the BAe 146/ Avro RJ re­gional jet­liner in a va­ri­ety of mil­i­tary and spe­cial role ap­pli­ca­tions, BAE Sys­tems has un­veiled its pro­posal for a cost-ef­fec­tive air-to-air re­fu­elling (A2R) vari­ant of the air­craft

Speak­ing at the De­fence Ser­vices Equip­ment In­ter­na­tional (DSEi) ex­hi­bi­tion in Lon­don, Mark Tay­lor, Busi­ness Di­rec­tor Engineering for BAE Sys­tems Re­gional Air­craft, stated: “We be­lieve that the A2R ver­sion of the BAe 146/Avro RJ is a sound busi­ness propo­si­tion for mil­i­tary plan­ners and air forces that need this ca­pa­bil­ity but who are hav­ing to face the fi­nan­cial re­al­i­ties of de­fence bud­get cut­backs.

“Whether to pro­vide A2R tac­ti­cal tanker ca­pa­bil­ity or, in par­tic­u­lar, to pro­vide re­al­is­tic A2R train­ing in­stead of us­ing ex­pen­sive ex­ist­ing as­sets, the ac­qui­si­tion of a fleet of th­ese air­craft can be ac­com­plished at a frac­tion of the cost of cur­rent re­fu­elling air­craft, whilst de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent per­for­mance.”

The de­sign of the air­craft with its high wing and T-tail con­fig­u­ra­tion is ideal for A2R op­er­a­tions. BAE Sys­tems Re­gional Air­craft has al­ready car­ried out prox­im­ity flight tri­als us­ing a BAe 146-200, Avro RJ85 and Hawk jet trainer. This was suc­cess­fully com­pleted and con­firmed that the aero­dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment be­hind the quad jet is be­nign and the air­craft there­fore has con­sid­er­able po­ten­tial as an A2R air­craft for re­fu­elling a range of air­craft types and sizes.

It is con­sid­ered the BAe 146/Avro RJ might be par­tic­u­larly suit­able as a tanker for tilt-ro­tor air­craft which can ex­pe­ri­ence ad­di­tional chal­lenges when in the slip­stream of some other tanker air­craft.

The busi­ness has car­ried out de­sign con­cepts for a hose and drogue unit (HDU)-based sys­tem and th­ese in­cluded the op­tion for ad­di­tional fuel tanks within the cabin. The stan­dard tank­age on the BAe 146/ Avro RJ gives up to ap­prox­i­mately 7,000 kg of fuel avail­able for trans­fer – suf­fi­cient for A2R train­ing at the low­est cap­i­tal cost. Ad­di­tional aux­il­iary fuel tanks in the cabin would pro­vide up to about 18,000 kg of fuel avail­able for trans­fer, mak­ing the air­craft a use­ful tac­ti­cal re­fu­elling airtanker.

The wide air­speed range of the air­craft gives flex­i­bil­ity in re­fu­elling the va­ri­ety of fixed and ro­tary wing air­craft cur­rently in ser­vice. In this role the air­craft can fly up to 300 knots in­di­cated air speed/M.072 at 31,000 ft (BAe 146) or 35,000 ft (Avro RJ).

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