02 Aug 2019

Avionic upgrades for the RAF’S Britten-Norman Islanders

Britten-Norman is in the process of delivering an upgrade for the BN-2T Islander R Mk1 fleet.

The aircraft, which recently moved to Royal Air Force control, form part of the UK military’s ISTAR fleet. The upgrade of the aircraft is being carried out by BN Defence, the military support subsidiary of the aircraft OEM, Britten-Norman, with the purpose of modernising the aircraft cockpit and enhancing situational awareness and safety.

The first upgraded Islander is due to be delivered in the Summer of 2019.

The modifications are based on a Garmin foundation, and incorporate the G600TXi PFD/MFD along with GTN650 GPS/NAV/COM transceivers. Other key features of the upgrade include TCAS integration, new Garmin radar altimeters and the Genesys System 55X autopilot. Penny & Giles Crash Survivable Cockpit Voice Recorder and Multi-Purpose Flight Data Recorder will also be fitted.

The modification will be developed as civil modifications under Britten-Norman’s EASA Part 21J Approval before being certified to the military standard. The company will provide the systems integration and flight-testing for these modifications once completed, as well as pilot and technician training.

The Islanders first entered service with the Army Air Corps (AAC) in 1989 and now belong to No 651 Squadron AAC (under command of RAF 1 Group), which also operates the larger R Mk2 BN2T-4S Defender as well as a training variant, Defender T Mk3.

Britten-Norman Aircraft 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.”

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