Boris Johnson's 'disgraceful decision to 'reward' Macron with Royal Family aircraft deal

According to aviation reporter Gareth Jennings, the UK Defence Ministry has selected the French Dassault Falcom 2000LXS as the successor to the BAe 146 jet, after announcing in November a tender for £80 million to replace four aircraft.

Under the Command Support Air Transport Recapitalisation contract, four Royal Air Force BAe 146 are going to be replaced by two civil business jets in March.

Mr Jennings reported on Twitter that the contract was assigned to French company Dassault, sparking controversy over post-Brexit relations with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The aviation journalists tweeted: “So, the word on the street I’m getting is that the UK has selected the Dassault Falcon 2000LXS as the successor to the BAe 146, with a contract to be announced shortly.

“A French jet for 32 ‘The Royal’ Squadron doesn’t seem at all Brexity, but hey ho!”

The news sparked the fury of former British Army officer Nicholas Drummond, who branded the move “disgraceful”.

The defence industry analyst and consultant said: “A disgraceful decision.

“After Macron’s behaviour on Brexit, the Northern Ireland Protocol, and Channel migrants, it’s wrong to reward France with such a contract, especially as there are other aircraft equal to the task.”

The aircraft are primarily used to transport the Royal Family and other VIPs.

Under the tender published last November, the Ministry of Defence announced: “The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) currently operates a military fleet of BAe146 transport aircraft from RAF Northolt that will be withdrawn from service on 31 March 2022.

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“Phase 1 also includes the training of military pilots and cabin crew and the use of these service personnel to complement the civilian pilots in the delivery of the service.

“Phase 2: A separate competitive procurement for the embodiment of military modifications on the aircraft, from 1 April 2024 (subject to take-up of options), and provision of in-service support utilising military personnel in the operation of the aircraft, with an associated transfer of aircraft to the Military Aircraft Register.”

The jets will be owned by the MoD and initially operated by contractor-provided civilian pilots.

A spokesman for the MoD told “The competition for a replacement for the BAe146 has completed and an announcement will be made in due course.”

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