A £15.5 million contract to convert two commercial aircraft for military use has been awarded by the Ministry of Defence to BAE Systems in Prestwick, Ayrshire.
The converted BAE 146 aircraft will be used to transport passengers and freight between the UK and Afghanistan. Prestwick workers will be responsible for organising the refit and designing how the specialised equipment needed by the military will be fitted on the planes.
The refit will then be subcontracted to the Hawker Beechcraft Services facility at Broughton in North Wales. The planes will be fitted with equipment to ensure that they are protected as well as other UK military aircraft.
Mark Taylor, business director of engineering for BAE Systems at Prestwick, said: “Over the years we have gained considerable experience in designing and managing upgrade and conversion work. The two BAE 146 aircraft will be in service for many years with No 32 (The Royal) Squadron of the RAF.
“The addition of this new contract will support a 33% increase in our engineering turnover this year, with further prospects in development.”
The MoD acquired the two commercial planes in a deal with TNT Airways of Belgium. The MoD believes that converting the planes will offer the most timely, value-for-money solution to help boost aircraft numbers in service.
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