Britten-Norman, the original equipment manufacturer for the BN-2T ISLANDER R Mk 1, is in the process of delivering an avionics upgrade for the fleet through its military support subsidiary, BN Defence.
The aircraft, control of which has recently passed to the Royal Air Force (RAF), form part of the UK intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) fleet. The current upgrade modernises the cockpit and enhances situational awareness, with a view to the first upgraded aircraft being delivered later this summer. Central to the upgrade is installation of the Garmin G600TXi multi-functional display and GTN GPS navigation/communications transceivers. Other key elements of the upgrade include TCAS integration, new Garmin radar altimeters, the GENESYS System 55X autopilot and a Penny & Giles Survivable Cockpit Voice Recorder and Multi-Purpose Flight Data Recorder.
Developed initially as civil modifications under the company’s EASA Part 21J approval, the upgrade will subsequently be certified to military standards. Britten-Norman will provide systems integration and flight-testing for the modifications, once completed, as well as pilot and technician training.
The BN-2T ISLANDER first entered service with the Army Air Corps in 1989 and are now operated by No 651 Squadron AAC under the command of RAF 1 Group, which also operates the larger BN2T-4S DEFENDER R Mk2 and a training variant, the DEFENDER T Mk 3.
“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,” observed Britten-Norman Technical Director, David Shaw.