RAF BAE146 QC in Afghanistan

A handful of nice images of the RAF’s 146 C3 transport aircraft in Afghanistan

An RAF BAe 146 from 32 (The Royal Squadron) at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. The aircraft is part of the RAF 904 Expeditionary Air Wing based at Kandahar Air Base.

904 Expeditionary Air Wing (904 EAW) is responsible for the support and operation of RAF assets at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. As well as delivering hundreds of RAF air mobility movements every year with Hercules C-130J and BAE 146 aircraft, the EAW mounts attack and intelligence missions through its detachments of RAF Tornado GR4 fast jets.

The EAW also provides support for a detachment providing launch and recovery of RAF and Reaper remotely piloted air systems.

The Tactical Air Transport Detachment, equipped with Hercules C-130J and BAE 146 aircraft from 30 Squadron and XXXII (The Royal) Squadron, makes sure personnel and equipment can move within and between the eight million square mile joint area of operations for which 83 Expeditionary Air Group is responsible.

RAF BAE146 QC in the Middle East

RAF BAE146 QC in Afghanistan

RAF BAE146 QC in Afghanistan

RAF BAE146 QC in the Middle East

Read more about the 146 QC below

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/04/raf-bae-146-c3/”]

 

 

 

 

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AW1
AW1
April 3, 2014 7:59 am

TD,

the bit about the BAE146 is very interesting…

…however…

…What’s with the sponsors!?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 3, 2014 8:06 am

Good to have something for picking up oil workers from the middle of a desert next time (with the Hercs going)
– first-class service (must be, Royal Flight and all…)

dave haine
dave haine
April 3, 2014 9:25 am

Vastly under-rated ‘plane- TNT engineers always claimed they were impact-repairable, and could withstand any ham-fisted nigel hop, skip and jumping down the runway.

I would like to see a few more for the RAF, preferably the QT version- keep the hours down on the Atlas and Globemaster fleets, tuck into little airfields, small enough not to need massive handling equipment (forklift job) everyone’s a winner.

And….I’m sure the gentlemen from Hereford, have ascertained its usefulness, for going into smaller airfields, without fuss, with a mixed load, and minimum handling.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 3, 2014 9:58 am

Can we have a couple more please ( with side cargo door) , and a couple for a replacement for the SF Hercs and maybe an MPA version.

dave haine beat me to it :-)

wf
wf
April 3, 2014 10:25 am

The sort of incompetents who run BAE were always over keen on getting rid of the line. They then found the second hand ones were going like hot cakes, but no interest in changing their minds, obviously :-(

Derek
Derek
April 3, 2014 10:46 am

People here are seriously having a love in for the 146…?

Its a ridiculous plane which in a more understated way than concorde demonstrates the miss-allocation of capital that means the UK no longer has a commercial aerospace airframe designer/assembler. It was a clever design for a niche role (only genuinely applicable to a handful of airports) and not ideally suited to the military role either (by virtue of being an airliner), it therefore never achieved the volume it needed to become a seriously profitable business line worthy of further investment.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
April 3, 2014 11:00 am

I would like to see these retained along with the 2 or 3 we already had.

In fact, I think that the RAF needs a lighter transport type to compliment the bigger types, a bit like the RN desperately needs a second tier of corvette types to do some of the standing tasks rather than getting a T45 chasing pirates, or a much needed RFA lost sitting in the Caribbean.

What is its rough field performance? Any good for 47 Sqn?

mike
mike
April 3, 2014 12:24 pm

Just adding to TD’s post of this useful little lifter is the fact it can’t do para-drops very well – trails carried out by fully equipped paras were dissapointing to say the least (source: being screamed at by one of said paras). That might dissuade the gents from Hereford, but still, its amazing HM Forces doesnt have more of these. Then again, when the decision could have been made, we had a large pool of hercs…

Derek
Derek
April 3, 2014 12:26 pm

TD,

Yes, it speaks volumes about how airlines, with low margins, can’t just go around scrapping aircraft at the drop of a hat. Do not confuse continued use by operators with a sensible business decision by the manufacturer. The two are often not linked.

As a UOR for the RAF they make perfect sense, but they are less than ideal for long term intra-theatre lift. Much better to have an actual military air-lifter rather than a bastardised airliner.

It also follows a proud RAF history of making good use out of less successful airliners, Comet, VC10 and to a lesser extent Trident being notable forebears.

wf
wf
April 3, 2014 12:37 pm

@Derek: I wonder if there are any C27J’s left?

Ace Rimmer
April 3, 2014 12:55 pm

Definitely worth purchasing a few more to keep the hours down on the ‘big’ stuff. IFR probe is always an option, or was the one on the demonstrator just a dummy? Anyone know?

Chris.B.
April 3, 2014 1:23 pm

@ WF,

US Coastguard snapped those up last time I checked.

Kent Horton
Kent Horton
April 3, 2014 1:27 pm

@Derek – “Much better to have an actual military air-lifter rather than a bastardised airliner.”

Really? Is it your opinion that the Douglas C-47 Skytrain/Dakota was just a bastardized version of the DC-3? Hmm?

“It also follows a proud RAF history of making good use out of less successful airliners, Comet, VC10 and to a lesser extent Trident being notable forebears.”

There were 387 of all versions produced, so it can hardly be described as one of the “…less successful airliners…”

@Daniele Mandelli – There is a “gravel kit” for it to protect the skin when using unimproved runways, and the lack of thrust reversers prevent the engines from throwing all sorts of crap into the air on landing.

East_Anglian
East_Anglian
April 3, 2014 1:29 pm

It’d be a bloody useful little shuttle between the JHC hubs of Yeovil, Benson,/Odiham, and Wattisham, with a quick trip to Aldergrove when needed. Would probably pay for itself in the T&S and Hire Car savings. Useful for critical stores transport too

Derek
Derek
April 3, 2014 1:33 pm

Kent Horton,

The DC-3 was from a different technological age entirely and is in no way a useful comparison.

387 over a 20 year production run is not impressive, look what Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer have achieved.

dave haine
dave haine
April 3, 2014 5:56 pm

Derek is absolutely right that airlines don’t just scrap aircraft at the drop of a hat. However, we also don’t continue to operate aircraft that don’t fit with our business or operational model. With leasing, it is very easy to reduce fleets, or change types. And BAe’s leasing division were good, they could always find an aeroplane for you, or indeed offload one, if you needed.

The 146 continues in service because it suits the operators to keep it in service- no other reason.

@Derek
The RAF didn’t operate the Trident- Comet, VC10, and Britannia certainly (and of course one mustn’t forget the Budgie), The RAE had a couple of BAC 111, no Tridents though- Chinese and Pakistan Air Forces did though.

dave haine
dave haine
April 3, 2014 6:16 pm

Derek is right in one respect though- the 146 is a niche aircraft, and as such would never be a big seller, Although they could have done more with it though- the design was crying out for a tail ramp, for instance, and there were twin-engined proposals.

Personally, I think they should have done more with the 111, and the 211 & 311 proposals. Or the wide-body design that Hawker Siddely sold to Airbus. In fact, we might have done better to commit to Airbus a bit more- we might have been building A340s in Bristol and Chester.

Concorde, whilst technologically brilliant, and a beautiful looking aircraft, is the same.

Derek
Derek
April 3, 2014 7:05 pm

DH,

I meant Tristar, typing too fast.

In the 60s, HS were doing great things with wings (they still do as part of Airbus) and BAC had some interesting fuselage designs, in 1966 the government seriously considered but then abandoned the idea of merging the two companies. Had they have been merged a British widebody, with British engines, could have beaten the A300 to market. We built Concorde instead.

TED
TED
April 3, 2014 9:25 pm

Saw one fly landing at London city today, I don’t normally see them in my neck of the woods.

As far as I’m concerned they are great for established intra theater ops i.e. afghan. However as much as I love them they are only useful in relatively benign environment. If your environment isn’t benign you need something like C295. I think in most cases it is better to have a Military tactical air lifter doing roles a civi type could do than having a civi doing the mill role.

Mark
Mark
April 3, 2014 9:41 pm

An interesting niche area that at some in industry are tentatively having a look at to gauge interest on a certain aircraft type.

TED

Define benign environment. If you mean a surface to air threat then I would say there arguably better protected than the cn295.

Kent
Kent
April 3, 2014 9:58 pm

@Derek – How many other UK-built jet airliners were more successful than the BAe 146/Avro RJ airliners?

Kent
Kent
April 3, 2014 10:35 pm

@TED – The problem with having a military tactical airlifter doing the missions that could be done by a civilian airlifter is that the civiiian airlifter can do those jobs cheaper and more efficiently because the military airlifter is built for conditions that a civilian airlifter should never face. That said, the BAe 146 is a simple, sturdy airlifter designed for unimproved field conditions, just like a military tactical airlifter.
As far as survivability, A DHL Airbus A300B4-200 freighter took a hit from an SA-7 on climbout from Baghdad. Through remarkable airmanship since the Airbus loss all three hydraulic systems and should have been unflyable, the crew was able to get the Airbus back to the airport and land it. Not saying a BAe 146 is “bulletproof,” but civilian aircraft are built to pretty tough standards.

Derek
Derek
April 3, 2014 11:57 pm

Kent,

Airliners are a global market, Britain lost as an airframe designer and assembler- though won in some high value subcomponent niches. Being the fourth most successful (Viscount being the first, Jetstream the second and HS748/ATP the third) of an awful bunch is not an achievement in any meaningful sense.

Airbus is now ramping production of the A320 to 46 a month meaning the total BAe 146 build is less than nine months A320 production.

TED
TED
April 4, 2014 8:18 am

@ Mark Benign may have been the wrong choice of word but I think you get the idea. I was thinking air supremacy and marginal risk from AAA and SAMs. I would genuinely like to know how its better protected against SAMs though is it just the British DAS?

@Kent I appreciate they do it cheaper and I would like to see some retained and I appreciate that civi aircraft can also be quite survivable but the ideal would be to not get hit.

My problem is that you wouldn’t want these landing at a remote little airstrip at the outbreak of war unloading Paras down the stairs. I think more investment in proper tactical air lifters should come in front of buying more 146 even if it means that it costs you more to move basic kit around.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 4, 2014 8:56 am

@TED

Wouldn’t we be using the A400 for that task? the amount of times we have actually used tactical airlifters in that role after the shooting has started are pretty small compared to the need of moving kit on a daily basis.

Observer
Observer
April 4, 2014 9:16 am

Even if you are landing in a hot zone, that does not mean civilian craft are useless, once the enemy is pushed a sufficient distance from the airfield, your other aircraft can function pretty normally and act as a valuable supplement to your existing lifters. There is never enough planes to go around that people can afford to be picky.

a
a
April 4, 2014 9:54 am

“Britain lost as an airframe designer and assembler- though won in some high value subcomponent niches”

Among these “high value subcomponent niches” – the wings and the engines. Derek, seriously. The French are terribly proud of the fact that the bits all get bolted together in the final assembly shed in Toulouse, but that’s Lego by comparison.

Derek
Derek
April 4, 2014 10:09 am

a,

Yes, wings and engines are value subcomponents, seriously. Not really sure why you felt the need to repeat my post but never mind.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 4, 2014 10:45 am

RE “I would genuinely like to know how its better protected against SAMs though is it just the British DAS?”

Unlike the DHL a/c in Baghdad, the Israeli airliner (full of tourists) did not take the missile hit at all in Kenya, because they put that (kind of) kit onboard.
– then again, how quickly can you get those kits for a different type of a/c?
– the beauty of buying the three we are discussing was that those steps had already been taken for the Royal carriages

Mark
Mark
April 4, 2014 11:32 am

TED

Flying transports in contested airspace is highly dangerous and the prob the preserve of an elite band of crews in a a400m.

As for the SAMs. The areas were these transports tend to be at most risk is in the landing/takeoff phases of operation. Being a 4 engined turbo fan the aircraft will pass thru or climb out of these areas quicker than the c295 and also with better engine out performance in those areas of the flight exposing it for less time to the most likely threat systems.

John Hartley
John Hartley
April 4, 2014 11:37 am

If we want to play fantasy 146, then I would give the RAF 4, saddle tanks & re-engine with the latest version from the Gulfstream G280. The money saved in fuelling stop landing fees & better economy, would probably cover this improvement.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
April 4, 2014 11:44 am

@ Mark

Used to love the Baghdad landing in the old Royal BAE 146. Spin and dive :)

Mark
Mark
April 4, 2014 11:55 am

Rather you than me apas!

Only ever once experienced anything like than in a plane doing stall protection testing in a jetstream mad as hatters those pilots never again!

Waylander
Waylander
April 4, 2014 4:18 pm

No 32 Royal Squadron

A Flight
2 BAE 146-100 CC2
2 BAE 146-200 QC

B Flight
2 AgustaWestland AW109

C Flight
5-6 BAE 125 CC3

So are the CC2s and CC3s only useful for VIP or personnel transport, not cargo?

bigdave243
bigdave243
April 4, 2014 4:50 pm

@Waylander

Yes and yes. Have you seen the HS-125?? It’s pathetically small, you’d be lucky to get your day sack on board.

Kent
Kent
April 4, 2014 5:37 pm

@Waylander; @bigdave243 – There are conversion kits to fit cargo doors to the BAe 146, but those are Queen’s Flight birds. Don’t know how Auntie Elizabeth would feel about pallets/containers scratching up the interiors.

bigdave243
bigdave243
April 4, 2014 5:53 pm

@Kent

Yeah sorry I was talking as they stand they are only used for the transport of VIP’s etc. And as you point out I doubt Liz and Co. would be happy to share the rather small cabin with an aircraft pallet. Haha.

The 2 QC variants are the only ones that could be used for cargo. Although I must point out their use in this role is limited, and re-re-roling to carry aircraft pallets (SL4’s) is not ‘Quick’ as the name would lead you to believe.

Waylander
Waylander
April 4, 2014 6:27 pm

@bigdave243
No not seen one, i did not realize it was such a small jet, i should have just looked on the RAF website, it says “6 passengers and their luggage”!
Also mentions a “large equipment bay” just for emergency equipment i suppose?

mike
mike
April 4, 2014 7:00 pm

@Waylander

Although their main purpose, they are often used to shuttle small numbers of crew/personnel/kit around operational needs… not just carting around royalty, brass and MP’s, for example repatriating personnel when they suffer grievance back in the UK.

They have full DASS, but as stated, their operational capability is more narrow.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 4, 2014 11:47 pm

@ bigdave243 – Bearing in mind the fact that Her Majesty was at one time the only Head of State in Western Europe qualified to fix her own land-rover (ATS), is married to a Deck Officer on Destroyers, has a son who was deployed to the Falklands and a Grandson who did two Afghan tours I’d guess she might have a slightly greater appreciation of military necessity than the self-important reptiles in shiny suits currently feathering their own nests at the Mother of Parliaments…

GNB

Kent
Kent
April 5, 2014 1:46 am

@GNB – My bad. I was the one who brought Auntie Elizabeth into this. I’ve always been impressed by the willingness of British royalty to serve in combat during wartime and regret implying that she’d be snooty over a little honest wear in a Royal flight aircraft.

bigdave243
bigdave243
April 5, 2014 2:29 am

@GNB

Sorry I just want to clarify before I come in for some flak. I in no way want to diminish Her Majesty or the contributions of her family to the Armed Forces and the country as a whole. I am a royalist. :-)

I was merely making an offhand comment. :-/

Also i completely agree with your sentiments of the use of the a/c by other parties of a political persuassion.