Britten-Norman is upgrading the former Army Air Corps Islander AL1/CC2s, which recently moved to RAF control and form part of the UK’s Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) fleet
The work is being carried out by BN Defence, the military support subsidiary of the manufacturer and involves modernising the aircraft’s cockpits and ‘enhancing situational awareness and safety’.
The modifications incorporate the Garmin G600TXi PFD/MFD, GTN650 GPS/NAV/COM transceivers TCAS integration, new Garmin radar altimeters and Genesys System 55X autopilot. Penny & Giles’ crash survivable cockpit voice recorders and multi-purpose flight data recorders will also be installed.
BN will provide the systems integration, flight-testing of the modifications, and pilot and technician training. The first aircraft is due to be delivered back to the RAF this summer.
The Islanders, which first entered service with the Army in 1989, serving in clandestine roles, are now with the 651 Squadron special forces support unit based at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland under the command of RAF 1 Group, which also operates BN Defender AL2 surveillance aircraft and Defender T Mk3 trainers.
Britten-Norman’s Technical Director David Shaw said: “The upgrade will address the critical safety and airworthiness challenges associated with operating in congested airspace.
“It also demonstrates the full range of modifications and upgrades our expert engineers are able to provide to our civil and overseas military customers.”