British Avenger Trainer Aircraft to Undergo Major Capability Upgrade

The UK military has embarked on a venture to modernize its Beechcraft King Air 350ER “Avenger” training aircraft.

The capability upgrade will address obsolescence issues, enabling the planes to serve for another 10 years.

According to Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the Avengers will be fitted with an electronically scanned array radar and high-performance electro-optical camera.

Their cabin area and mission consoles will also be reconfigured to support modern training needs.

In a subsequent report by aviation news site FlightGlobal, it was confirmed that Leonardo has been contracted to supply the Osprey 30 radar for the Beechcraft King Air 350ERs.

The Avenger

The Beechcraft King Air 350ER, designated the Avenger in the UK, was acquired to train Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel.

It features the IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle for reduced pilot workload and improved precision control.

The aircraft also has a flexible, reconfigurable interior suitable for pilot training.

Since it was first inducted in the UK in 2012, the Avenger fleet has reportedly trained 400 instructors and graduated around 800 aircrew.

Additional Venture

Apart from modernizing the Avenger, DE&S is embarking on a 125-million-pound ($155-million) project to continue training pilots using the present system.

The training continuation will occur until 2026 when the Future Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance and Rear Crew Training System (FIRCTS) arrives.

According to DE&S, the contract will prepare British pilots to operate Wildcat, Merlin, Poseidon, and Rivet Joint aircraft.

“The continuation of Mission Aircrew training at RNAS Culdrose and obsolescence removal program over the next three years will pave the way for the [FIRCTS], which will significantly uplift the training system capability and capacity,” DE&S official Michelle Ostergaard said.

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