ARMY AIR CORPS DEFENDER AL1
The Britten-Norman company created its BN-2 Islander utility aircraft in the early 1960s, flying it for the first time in 1965. It has since proved a true British success story on both the civil and military markets, and remains in production today. The Army Air Corps began using the Islander for surveillance, communications and command tasks during the 1990s, and has since acquired the improved Defender, with its longer fuselage and more powerful Allison 250 turboprop engines. Providing the example at RIAT 2015 will be 651 Squadron, a notable unit in the annals of British Army flying as it became the first Air Observation Post squadron formed (then as part of the RAF) with Auster aircraft in 1941. Today it is based at Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station Aldergrove in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and flies in support of counter-terrorist operations. The main operational versions are the Defender AL1 and AL2, but there is also a crew trainer variant, the T3. An AL1 is expected to attend RIAT 2015.