BAE Systems has announced plans to develop a new variant of its 146/Avro air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new variant, known as the 146/Avro AJR, will feature several upgrades and modifications to the existing 146/Avro design, including the addition of a refueling boom and drogue system for mid-air refueling operations.
Background on the 146/Avro
The 146/Avro is a family of regional jet airliners that was initially developed and produced by British Aerospace (BAE). The aircraft, which first entered service in the early 1990s, is known for its versatility and has been used for a variety of purposes, including passenger and cargo transportation, as well as military and government operations.
The new variant will feature a range of key features, including a refuelling boom and wing-mounted refuelling pods. It will also have a strengthened fuselage and wings to accommodate the additional weight of the refuelling equipment.
The XR will be able to refuel both fast jets and rotary wing aircraft while also providing communications relay and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance.
The aircraft can be used to support joint force operations in disaster relief or humanitarian aid missions, as well as provide “a global reach” if a forward operating base is unavailable.
The air-to-air refuelling variant also boasts an advanced defensive countermeasures system capable of detecting and defeating enemy jamming and electronic warfare threats.
Plans for the 146/Avro AJR Variant
The 146/Avro AJR variant will be developed specifically for air-to-air refueling operations. This will involve the installation of a refueling boom and drogue system, as well as other modifications to the aircraft’s structure and systems to accommodate the added equipment. BAE plans to use the 146/Avro AJR for both military and commercial refueling operations.
Benefits of the 146/Avro AJR
One of the primary benefits of the 146/Avro AJR is its versatility. The aircraft’s small size and ability to operate from short runways make it well-suited for use in a variety of different environments and situations. Additionally, the 146/Avro AJR’s relatively low cost and ease of operation make it an attractive option for both military and commercial customers.
The 146/Avro air-to-air refuelling variant is expected to be of interest to a wide range of potential customers, including the UK Royal Air Force and other international air forces. It is also likely to be of interest to civilian operators, such as airlines and cargo companies, who may use the aircraft for long-range operations.
In conclusion, BAE Systems’ plans to develop the 146/Avro AJR variant will provide a new, versatile option for air-to-air refueling operations. The aircraft’s small size, low cost, and ability to operate from short runways make it well-suited for a variety of different scenarios and customers.