Britten Norman (Pilatus) BN2A/B-21 Islander
Twin-engine eight-seat communications aircraft
Already in 1973 the Belgian Army started looking for a replacement for the Dornier Do27 and in 1975 it was decided to purchase 12 Britten Norman BN2A-21 Islanders. The contract was signed on November 19th, 1975 and was valued at 139 million Bfr/aircraft.
The aircraft were build at Fairey, Gosselies and completed at Bembridge (Isle of Wight, UK). Aircraft B-01 to B-05 were used for transport and liaison missions, B-06 to B-08 for paradrops while the remaining Islanders were mainly used for reconnaissance missions. During their careers the aircraft were converted from BN2A-21 to BN2B-21 standards.
One aircraft (B-02) was equipped with a SLAR (Side Looking Airborne Radar), infra-red and UV sensors for the detection of marine pollution by ships in the North Sea. The last Islanders were withdrawn from military service in late 2004. In 2005 two aircraft (the already modified B-02 and B-09 as spares source) were reserved for the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models, the operational aircraft is now operated under a Belgian civil registration. In early 2006 all remaining aircraft were offered for sale to the highest bidder.