QinetiQ has formally commissioned the modified Avro RJ100 transport aircraft at the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Boscombe Down facility in Wiltshire, UK.
The aircraft will support in training future test pilots and flight engineers at the MoD’s Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS).
Speaking at the ceremony, QinetiQ Managed Services managing director Mike Howarth said the RJ100 arrival in the company’s fleet represented a significant change in capability for the future.
"It affords us the opportunity to rationalise the heavy aircraft fleet, increases reliability and availability of aircraft, reduces risk and will provide real financial savings in the long term," Howarth said.
The second-hand aircraft was acquired by the company along with an Avro RJ70 jet transporter under the 25-year long-term partnering agreement (LTPA) with the MoD, following comprehensive evaluations of several regional airliners in 2011.
Both aircraft are scheduled to replace the company’s two ageing Hawker Siddeley Andover C1 and two BAC 1-11 aircraft.
Sustaining the LTPA capability, the new aircraft are expected to reduce maintenance costs and enhance operational efficiencies.
The Avro RJ70 jet is scheduled to enter into operational service following an extensive modernisation programme in 2014.
Under the LTPA contract, QinetiQ provides a wide range of weapons test and evaluation (T&E) and training support services to the MoD to ensure maximum value for money.
Image: The modified Avro RJ100 aircraft stationed at MoD’s Boscombe Down facility in Wiltshire, UK. Photo: courtesy of QinetiQ Group, 2012 ©.