United Kingdom (1989)
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The Britten-Norman Defender was developed from the similar Britten-Norman Islander transport aircraft.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Britten-Norman Defender Reconnaissance / Transport / Patrol Aircraft. Entry last updated on 5/12/2010. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Defender has since served in a variety of roles including that of counter-insurgency (extensively so during Northern Ireland operations), reconnaissance, surveillance and utility light transport. Among other sortie types in the Defender's forte became light attack and forward air control (FAC) when necessary. The Defender has proven a capable and robust platform since her inception into service leading to the "Maritime Defender" - a designation covering the armed maritime version of the base Defender multi-role utility transport. The Defender was officially added to the ranks of the British Army on March 10th, 1989.
Design is wholly utilitarian and is most characteristically defined by the high-mounted monoplane wings. Each wing maintains an Allison 250-B17F turboprop engine powering a three-bladed propeller. The cockpit compartment is held well forward in the squared off fuselage with slab sides and features a useful sloped nose for improved downward visibility. The undercarriage is a conventional tricycle arrangement and made up of two double-tired main landing gear legs and a single-tired nose landing gear leg - as a whole, the undercarriage is non-retractable. The empennage is dominated by a single large-area vertical tail fin clipped at the top and sporting some sweep along the leading edge. Horizontal tailplanes are affixed to the vertical fin tail. Typical accommodations are for two pilots and up to six passengers. Entry/exit is via side doors, two forward and two aft. Her gross weight is listed at 7,000lbs. Each wing can field four hardpoints for various munition options to include gun pods, rocket pods and bombs if need be or external fuel tanks for extended loitering times and operational range. Specialized reconnaissance and surveillance mounts are fitted with applicable tailored equipment, cameras and jamming pods as well as a bevy communications options. Airborne Early Warning (AEW) Defenders sport a hideous-looking nose radome that quickly identifies the type and its role.
In 2003, the UK military purchased three (some sources state four) Defenders to help with the deteriorating conditions in Iraq following the 2003 coalition invasion. These aircraft carried the designation of Defender 4S AL Mk 1 and sported underwing dispensers to protect against surface-to-air guided munitions. This model was furthered defined by the implementation of an electro-optical turret under the extreme end of the nose.
The Defender 4000 is the current military version of the Defender series and first flight of this system was achieved in August of 1994. The Defender 4000 features a larger wing component similar to that of the Trislander and operates with increased weight tolerances. Her engines are more powerful than previous versions and she sports an enlarged nose section for the fitting of search radar. Top speed is a reported 225 miles per hour.
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (225mph).
Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Britten-Norman BN2T-4S Defender 4000's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.