This week also saw the visit of an RAF BAe 146 CC.Mk 2 (serial ZE701) operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron based at RAF Northolt. The aircraft is tasked with a Command Support Air Transport (CSAT) role. Two 146 variants are operational, the VIP-configured CC.Mk 2 and the Quick Change (QC) C.Mk 3, which can be rapidly converted between passenger and cargo configurations.
The CC2’s primary role is the transport of senior government ministers and Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel and, most famously, senior members of the Royal Family, although this work represents by far the minority of 32(TR) Sqn’s tasking. If required, the 146’s defensive aids suite (DAS) also offers government ministers and high-ranking military leaders protection during visits overseas where a risk to security is perceived.
Outside VIP work, the CC.Mk 2 has an operational role in-theatre, providing essential support to military commanders by moving personnel and smaller freight items. The type’s presence also enables key face-to-face engagement between commanders and their personnel, coalition partners and host nation leadership representatives.