RAF converts transport aircraft for medical use

18 June 2020 (Last Updated June 18th, 2020 12:34)

Two British Royal Air Force (RAF) BAe146 Mk.3 transport aircraft have been adapted to carry medical patients in two months.

RAF converts transport aircraft for medical use
Two RAF BAe146 Mk.3 transport aircraft have been adapted to carry medical patients in record time. Credit: Royal Air Force / UK Crown Copyright.

Two British Royal Air Force (RAF) BAe146 Mk.3 transport aircraft have been adapted to carry medical patients in two months.

Operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron at RAF Northolt, the transport aircraft have undergone this conversion for the first time.

In April this year, personnel from Tactical Medical Wing (TMW) and 32 Squadron concluded that the existing stretcher stanchions in the aircraft.

The Joint Air Delivery Test & Evaluation Unit (JADTEU) based at RAF Brize Norton designed, engineered and produced the solution.

Once ready, prototype trials commenced to prove the adapted aircraft’s suitability for aeromed multiple missions and teams, including the Critical Care Air Support Team.

The aircrew of the BAe146 aircraft underwent training, following which the vehicle was declared operational.

OC 32 Squadron wing commander Delia Chadwick said: “This project is an exemplar of what Defence can achieve in a short space of time when the operational need exists.

“It has required close collaboration and coordination, not only between Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from my team on 32 Squadron, JADTEU and TMW, but a number of other key Defence stakeholders, including the Queen’s Colour Squadron, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the RTSA, and our industry partners, BAe and Serco.

“Development of the CSAT BAe146 capability has added further breadth to what the Air Mobility Force can offer to Defence and will enable more efficient use of a limited pool of assets as a result.”

The RAF uses multiple air vehicles to transport patients and medical personnel, including Atlas, Hercules, Globemaster, Voyager, Puma and Chinook helicopters.

However, BAe146 was selected for its greater mission flexibility.

TMW officer commanding wing commander Jo Bland said: “The advantage of the BAe146 is that it can land at airports where Voyager can’t due to its smaller size and footprint.

“It suits our purposes brilliantly for short hops which can be completed at less cost and with less impact on the environment.”