Aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman acquires fleet of aircraft previously used by UK military

A FLEET of aircraft previously used by the UK military has been bought by its original manufacturer, which has a base in Lee-on-the-Solent.

By Kimberley Barber
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 11:00 am
Britten-Norman has acquired a fleet of BN2T-4S Islander aircraft
Britten-Norman has acquired a fleet of BN2T-4S Islander aircraft

Britten-Norman, which has its head office on the Isle of Wight and sites in Southampton and Lee, acquired the fleet of BN2T-4S Islander aircraft that had been used in a surveillance role by the UK Ministry of Defence.

The aircraft, which are the higher capacity, longer endurance version of the turboprop Islander, made by Britten-Norman, will undergo a major refurbishment that will see them return to the civil aircraft register for onward export sale.

William Hynett, CEO of Britten-Norman, said: ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire these aircraft and look forward to giving them a new lease of life.’

The majority of aircraft have been owned by the UK MoD since new, with all deep maintenance having carried out by Britten-Norman since they were first manufactured.

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Most of the aircraft have so far utilised less than 10 per cent of their expected operational lives.

The aircraft will be marketed independently, however the company has also teamed up with the MoD’s Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) to offer the aircraft under a government to government sales agreement.

This is agreement is designed to enhance co-operation with allies and friendly nations through the provision of life-saving intelligence and rescue capabilities.

This programme will provide a financial return to the MoD under a gainshare agreement, helping the taxpayer to derive direct benefit from the exports.

Mr Hynett added: ‘The opportunity to work closely with DESA to derive mutual benefit in any sales is an added bonus.

‘The BN2T-4S Islander brings a different offering to our customers.

‘The aircraft maintains many of the Islander’s renowned short take-off and landing characteristics whilst offering a larger cabin for increased passenger comfort.

‘There has been early interest in the aircraft in both the airline and policing configurations. We have already commenced conversion of the aircraft to the civil register for onward sale.’

The firm said that in addition to its impressive performance as a freighter/airliner, the aircraft is capable of being equipped for a variety of other operations, including medivac, search and rescue, aerial survey and policing or intelligence operations – and that the aircraft currently operates in the UK and overseas with other customers in these roles.