PM RAF jet at Northolt UK 06122022 credit MOD.jpg
Both VIP jets cost the RAF £80m last year (Picture: MOD).
Weapons and Kit

RAF's VIP jets to receive major 'defensive military modifications', MOD says

	PM RAF jet at Northolt UK 06122022 credit MOD.jpg
Both VIP jets cost the RAF £80m last year (Picture: MOD).

The Ministry of Defence is seeking interest from potential suppliers to modify the RAF's fleet of VIP Jets.

The Government department is looking to upgrade two Dassault 900LX aircraft, also known as Envoy IV CC Mk1 – which the MOD says require "defensive military modifications".

Upgrades to the jets will include "Directional Infra-Red Counter Measures (DIRCM) and Countermeasure Dispensing System (CMDS)" – otherwise known as 'chaff and flare' systems – which can aid military aircraft in defeating heat-seeking missiles.

Other upgrades will include new radio communication suites and military GPS with anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities.

The flight decks are also set to be fitted with Flight Deck Armour (FDA) – to help prevent pilots from becoming incapacitated by small arms fire.

As first reported in Huffington Post UK, both jets cost the RAF £80m last year, and they are used to carry senior Royals and politicians.

royal jets raf northolt 06122022 credit MOD.jpg
The Ministry of Defence says that both VIP aircraft will be in service until 2037 (Picture: MOD).

Since they were brought into service, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reportedly been criticised for using the jets for short-haul flights, rather than using cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative forms of transport.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "Two Envoy IV aircraft were purchased last year, providing a more modern and efficient aircraft than their predecessor.

"Both aircraft will receive defensive military modification in the coming years, and an expression of interest for this work has been released."

The Envoy name is a nod both to its crucial role in defence diplomacy and to previous Envoy aircraft in RAF service.

Both of the aircraft are currently based at RAF Northolt, in South Ruislip, with No 32 Squadron.

Contractors wishing to be awarded the contract for the works, have until 6 June 2023 to register their interest.

The award of the contract is expected to be at the end of 2025, with the upgrades complete by early 2026, and both aircraft are expected to be in service until at least 2037.

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