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BAe 146The British Aerospace 146 (also BAe 146) is a regional airliner formerly manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace, later part of BAE Systems.


Production ran from 1983 until 2002. Manufacture of an improved version known as the Avro RJ began in 1992. A further-improved version with new engines, the Avro RJX, was announced in 1997, but only two prototypes and one production aircraft were built before production ceased in late 2001. With 387 aircraft produced, the Avro RJ/BAe 146 is the most successful British civil jet programme.

The BAe 146/Avro RJ is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a T-tail. It has four turbofan engines mounted on pylons underneath the wings, and has retractable tricycle landing gear. The aircraft has very quiet operation, and has been marketed under the name Whisperjet. It sees wide usage at small city-based airports. In its primary role it serves as a regional jet, short-haul airliner or regional airliner. The BAe 146/Avro RJ is in wide use among European airlines, such as Brussels Airlines, CityJet, Swiss International Air Lines and Lufthansa. The freight-carrying version has the designation "QT" (Quiet Trader), while a convertible version is designated "QC" Quick Change).

The BAe 146 comes in -100, -200 and -300 models. The equivalent Avro RJ versions are designated RJ70, RJ85, and RJ100.

Hawker Siddeley carried out the original design in 1973 using the designation HS.146, but soon abandoned the project as a result of the world economic downturn resulting from the 1973 oil crisis. Low-key development proceeded, however, and in 1978 British Aerospace, Hawker Siddeley's corporate successor, re-launched the project. The 146 type number comes from the original de Havilland designation sequence, which was continued by Hawker Siddeley when the former became a subsidiary of the latter. The upgraded Avro RJ series superseded the BAe 146 in 1993.

The BAe 146 received its Certificate of Airworthiness on 8 February 1983.

The RJX-70, RJX-85 and RJX-100 aircraft represented advanced variants of the Avro RJ Series. The RJX series used Honeywell AS977 turbofans for greater efficiency (15% less fuel-burn, 17% increased range), quieter performance and 20% lower maintenance costs. Drukair of Bhutan placed orders for two RJX-85s, while British European placed firm orders for 12 RJX-100s and 8 options. However, BAE Systems terminated the project in December 2001, having completed and flown only three aircraft - a prototype each of the RJX-85 and RJX-100, and a production RJX-100 for British European. BAE reached an agreement with Druk Air and British European in early 2002 in which the airlines agreed not to enforce their firm orders for the RJX. BAE explored the possibility of manufacturing 14 "hybrid" aircraft, however British European at least was unwilling to accept the risk of operating a unique type.

The termination of the RJX project marked the end of complete commercial airliner production in the United Kingdom, though various components for Airbus aircraft continue to be produced there.

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