The BAe 146 C Mk3 military transport aircraft is developed for use by the UK Royal Air Force. Image courtesy of BAE Systems.
The BAe 146 C Mk3 transport aircraft is a military configuration of the commercial BAe 146-200QC (Quick Change) aircraft. Image courtesy of BAE Systems.
The BAe 146 Mk3 aircraft is capable of operating from short runways. Image courtesy of BAE Systems.
The BAe 146 Mk3 aircraft arrived in Theatre at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in April 2013. UK Crown copyright 2014.


BAe 146 C Mk3 is a military transport aircraft designed and developed by BAE Systems for the UK Royal Air Force. The aircraft provides flexible transportation of personnel and cargo and is capable of operating from short runways.

The aircraft can execute Command Support Air Transport tasks or Tactical Air Transport operations and can be easily configured for passenger transport, for all-cargo, or for mixed passenger and cargo operations.

Two BAe 146 C Mk3 short-medium-range aircraft are deployed with the Royal Air Force’s 32 (The Royal) Squadron. The aircraft were deployed to conduct tactical freight and personnel transport missions in theatre at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province in Afghanistan in April 2013. The aircraft will also augment C130 Hercules tactical air transport fleet.

Design, orders and deliveries

The BAe 146 C Mk3 is a military configuration of commercial BAe 146-200QC (Quick Change) aircraft and features enhanced interior design and flexible transportation capabilities. The aircraft is also fitted with an armoured flight deck, fuel tank inerting systems and a fire protection D-C system. It also features upgrades to the air conditioning system.

The A400M (formerly known as the future large aircraft) is a military transporter designed to meet the requirements of the air forces of Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) acquired two commercial BAe 146-200QC aircraft from Belgium-based TNT Airways for modification into the military version BAe 146 C Mk3. The BAe 146-200QC aircraft have been in service with TNT Airways since 2006. The upgrade effort forms part of meeting the requirements for the UK MoD’s Future Force 2020.

The MoD awarded a £15.5m contract to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for the conversion of two BAe 146-200QC aircraft into military configuration under Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR), in June 2012. The two aircraft were delivered to the UK Royal Air Force in April 2013.

BAe 146 C Mk3 cabin

The military version BAe 146 C Mk3 is equipped with a large cabin volume, which can carry a cargo load of 23,500lb or 94 passengers. Pallets, containers and awkwardly-shaped cargo can be easily loaded through a large upward-opening freight door placed at the rear of the aircraft. The freight door has a width of 3.33m and height of 1.93m.

A freight loading system is fitted to the cabin floor for the installation of either palletised freight or passenger seating fixed to pallets. The aircraft also features a palletised freight layout for easier transhipment of loads.

The modification programme also includes two further interior options to allow for a significant amount of carry-on baggage in storage containers and an alternative layout of 54 seats. The configuration includes two cargo pallets, one transition pallet and two baggage containers.

Avionics aboard BAe 146 C Mk3 aircraft

The new BAe 146 C Mk3 military transport aircraft is equipped with a variety of military equipment to deliver enhanced capabilities in both passenger and freight roles.

A Defensive Aids System is fitted to offer an appropriate level of protection. A successor identification friend or foe (SIFF) system is also incorporated for the identification of friendly forces.

The aircraft is also equipped with electronic systems including high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) radio communication systems and a SATCOM satellite communications system.

"A Defensive Aids System is fitted to offer an appropriate level of protection."

Engine and performance

The aircraft is powered by Honeywell ALF 502R-5 turbofans, which provide a take-off thrust of 6,970lb. It flies at a maximum speed of 300kts and has maximum take-off weight of 42,184kg.

Contractors involved

The prime contractor for the modification programme is BAE Systems Regional Aircraft based in Prestwick, UK. It procured equipment and provided design and integration of military equipment for the new aircraft. The company was also responsible for supply chain management and overall management of the conversion programme.

Hawker Beechcraft (now Marshall Aviation Services) acted as subcontractor to BAE Systems for the transformation of the BAe 146-200QC aircraft. The actual transformation took place at the Hawker Beechcraft’s Chester facility in the UK.

VRR, a company based in the Netherlands, was contracted by BAE Systems to provide new cabin baggage platforms, and containers and cargo pallets for the modification programme.

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