The Royal Air Force’s newest aircraft fleet has reached full-service capability with the delivery of a second Envoy IV CC Mk1 jet transport. Operated in the Command Support Air Transport role, the aircraft provide assured, secure, timely and discreet air transport of high priority military personnel and small items of mission critical freight to, from and within operational areas. The declaration of full-service capability comes only two months after delivery of the first aircraft. The Envoy IV aircraft are flown by mixed crews of RAF and civilian pilots with the Command Support Air Transport service provided by Centreline AV Ltd from RAF Northolt. The Envoy replaces the BAe146 which was retired from service in April this year, and provide a step change in range, efficiency, and operating costs. From April 2024, the aircraft will be modified with military upgrades and operated solely by RAF crews from 32 (The Royal) Squadron.
“Establishing the new Command Support Air Transport service with Envoy IV is the culmination of months of hard work on the part of the RAF, Defence Equipment & Support and our industry partners, Centreline AV Ltd. The aircraft will be working similarly hard to deliver UK influence and diplomacy around the world in the coming months and years,” Air Commodore Martin Assistant Chief of Staff, Air Mobility RAF said.
“I have been hugely impressed by the way that Envoy IV has entered service. Integrating a new aircraft into the Air Mobility fleet is never an easy task, but our teams have pulled together magnificently to ensure it has been seamless. I would also like to pay tribute to Centreline AV Ltd who have been an exceptional industry partner,” Air Commodore Lyle Air Mobility Force Commander, RAF
Delivery of both Envoy IV aircraft follows hard on the heels of a rapid and agile procurement process to ensure a seamless provision of Command Support Air Transport for UK Defence. It demonstrates one of the very best examples of smart procurement that we have seen in recent years,” James Evans, Air Transport Defence Equipment & Support.
The Envoy IV aircraft conducted its first operational flight on 7th June 2022. Full-Service capability for Command Support Air Transport is provided by two Envoy IV aircraft operating from RAF Northolt. A new aircraft type to Royal Air Force service is to be named the ‘Envoy IV’ in a nod both to its crucial role in defence diplomacy and to previous Envoy aircraft in RAF service. Two new Dassault 900LX aircraft have been purchased to replace the BAe146 aircraft that were withdrawn from Service in March. The new Envoy aircraft will be based at RAF Northolt with No 32 (The Royal) Squadron, initially under contract with Centreline AV Ltd. For the first two years, the aircraft will be operated by mixed crews of RAF and Centreline staff, before upgrading to a full military and operational capability in 2024. The name reflects the role of the aircraft in defence diplomacy and relationship building. The original Envoy aircraft in RAF service was known as the Envoy III. It was a twin-engine light transport aircraft, used by the RAF before and during World War 2 in the communications role; one of which served with the ‘King’ s Flight’ – a precursor to today’s No 32 (The Royal) Squadron.