Originally acquired by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) under a short term urgent operational requirement, the BN2T-4S aircraft have served in the UK and overseas under the designation Defender 4000 (D4K). Operating in the surveillance role, these aircraft have provided a mission critical command and control function. The aircraft, which are the higher capacity, longer endurance version of the turboprop Islander, will undergo a major refurbishment exercise that will see them return to the civil aircraft register for onward export sale.
The BN2T-4S Islander is a derivative of the standard turboprop Islander. Its extended fuselage gives an extra metre of cabin length, allowing more ergonomic staggered seating, and its larger wing accommodates up to 330 US gallons of fuel, giving the aircraft an endurance of up to eight hours and a VFR range of more than 1,000 nm. The aircraft's uprated Rolls Royce Model 250 B17F twin engines are operated at 400 SHP, packing the aircraft with performance and an 8,500lb MTOW.
In addition to its performance as a freighter/airliner, the aircraft is capable of being role equipped for a variety of other operations, including medevac, SAR, aerial survey and policing/intelligence operations. It currently operates in the UK and overseas with other customers in these roles.
The majority of aircraft that have been acquired by Britten-Norman have been owned by the UK MoD since new, with all deep maintenance having carried out by the OEM since they were first manufactured. Most of the aircraft have so far utilised less than 10 per cent of their expected operational lives, making them an attractive purchase opportunity.
Britten-Norman will market the aircraft 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 to enhance cooperation 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 gaunter agreement, helping the taxpayer to derive direct benefit from the exports.
Britten-Norman CEO William Hynett says: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire these aircraft and look forward to giving them a new lease of life. 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 STOL 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.”