The air force sought the aircraft for use in the extraction of troops from Afghanistan, where British personnel are part of the International Security Assistance Force.
The two planes -- BAE 146-200QC (Quick Change) aircraft -- were reconfigured a $23.6 million Urgent Operational Requirement to contract given to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, which was responsible for the design and integration of the equipment to be fitted onto the aircraft. Conversion work was subcontracted to Hawker Beechcraft Services.
Designated BAE 146 C Mk.3 by the air force, the aircraft are equipped with defensive aids, IFF systems, HF, UHF and satellite communications; an armored flight deck; a large upward-opening door for loading cargo and a palletized freight loading system.
The large cabin volume of the aircraft will allow as much as 23,500 pounds of freight to be carried.