A new aircraft type to Royal Air Force service is to be named the ‘Envoy IV’ in a nod both to its crucial role in defence diplomacy and to previous Envoy aircraft in RAF service.
Two new Dassault 900LX aircraft have been purchased to replace the BAe146 aircraft that were withdrawn from Service in March. The new Envoy aircraft will be based at RAF Northolt with No 32 (The Royal) Squadron, initially under contract with Centreline AV Ltd. For the first two years, the aircraft will be operated by mixed crews of RAF and Centreline staff, before upgrading to a full military and operational capability in 2024.
Enhancing our international presence, deepening our current defence relationships, and building new ones, is critical to UK security. The new Envoy aircraft will transport members of the Royal Family, government and military leaders around the world more quickly and efficiently than before. The Envoy can fly further, faster, and more sustainably than the aircraft it replaces.
The name reflects the role of the aircraft in defence diplomacy and relationship building. The original Envoy aircraft in RAF service was known as the Envoy III. It was a twin-engine light transport aircraft, used by the RAF before and during World War 2 in the communications role; one of which served with the ‘King’ s Flight’ – a precursor to today’s No 32 (The Royal) Squadron.
"I am delighted to be able to announce the naming of our new Command Support Air Transport aircraft as the Envoy IV. The name reflects our proud heritage, heralds the arrival of a new aircraft type, and recognises its important mission. The fleet – and those who make it fly - play a key role in the future of UK Defence, moving quicky to build and strengthen partnerships, relationships and influence across the globe."
Air Vice-Marshal Simon Edwards
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Strategy)