The Royal Air Force's (RAF's) sole remaining BAe 146 CC2 (serial ZE700) carried out its final flight on March 17, performing flypasts over multiple airfields before arriving in MOD St Athan, where it will be preserved at the nearby South Wales Aviation Museum (SWAM).
The aircraft (callsign 'NOH14') performed flypasts at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire; Glasgow Prestwick Airport, South Ayrshire and Warton Aerodrome, Lancashire, before arriving at MOD St Athan in South Wales.
Operated from RAF Northolt, London, by the RAF's No 32 (The Royal) Squadron, the BAe 146 CC2 entered operational service in 1986 and has been tasked with transporting senior government ministers, high-ranking military personnel and members of the Royal Family to both domestic and international engagements. The incorporation of a Defensive Aids Suite (DAS) enabled the platform to safely transport military commanders, personnel and smaller freight items in high-risk environments during conflict overseas. This capability was used heavily during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan and Operation Telic in Iraq.
The first BAe 146 CC2 (serial ZE701) to be retired from RAF service was flown to its new home with the British Airliner Collection at Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, at the end of January. No 32 (The Royal) Squadron also operated two BAe 146 C3 tactical transports, which were acquired from TNT Airways under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) in 2012. The two C3s (serials ZE707 and ZE708) will continue to fly, but in the hands of a civil operator. As these aircraft were acquired under a UOR for a now complete operational requirement, there are no plans to replace them in RAF service.
Read more about the retirment of the platform in the MAY22 issue of AFM.