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RAF’s Iconic Royal Jet Retires, Making Way for the New Fleet of Sustainable VIP Jets

Last week, Dassault officially announced that one of its top business jet models, the Falcon 900LX, will become the new VIP transport jet for UK’s top government and military officials, plus the Royal Family, following a recent contract signed with the UK Ministry of Defense. But what will happen to the Bae146 aircraft that the Falcon 900LX is replacing? The aging fleet will be disposed of. However, its most iconic representative will live on, in a museum.
The Royal jet that served with RAF for 36 years was gifted to SWAM 8 photos
The BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in WalesThe BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in WalesThe BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in WalesThe BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in WalesThe BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in WalesThe BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in WalesThe BAe146 Number ZE700 was retired to a museum in Wales
In the summer of 1916, a brave fighter pilot received Britain’s highest award, the Victoria Cross, after having successfully faced ten enemy aircraft simultaneously. He was Group Captain Lionel Rees VC from Caernarfon, Wales. A Bae146 jet with four engines would be named after him and operated by the Number 32 Squadron, also known as “the Royal Squadron.”

As its name suggests, it operates the aircraft that transport members of the Royal Family, as well as top-level military personnel and senior government officials.

Thirty-six years later, both the Squadron and the Royal jet are ready to take on a new path. The Squadron will start operating the Dassault 900LX jets that promise lower fuel consumption coupled with an increased range.

The historic jet, on the other hand, will no longer take to the sky, but will still keep a privileged status as the newest aircraft to join the South Wales Aviation Museum (SWAM) at St Athan. Even though it will no longer transport Royal passengers, it will be admired by generations to come.

The Bae146, number ZE700, carried out its final flight at the end of last week, when it was delivered to the museum. It was an emotional day for the crew that has worked with the iconic aircraft, including Former RAF Chief Technician, Barry Kelly, and for the Commanding Officer of 32 Sqn., Delia Chadwick. “Crews old and new are exceptionally fond of the 146’s characteristics and capabilities. They’re proud of her proven reliability, her rich heritage and the significant role she’s delivered,” Chadwick said.

As the new, sustainable Falcon 900LXs kick off their mission as the new VIP transport jets, the retired Royal jet will start a new chapter at SWAM, joining a Tornado GR4 that was also recently gifted by RAF to the museum.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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