March 9, 2013: The British Royal Air Force, in need of more short-range transports, spent $73 million to purchase and upgrade (with anti-missile systems and other military electronics) two BAe 146 freighters. In use since 1983, 387 of these four engine jet aircraft were produced until production ceased in 2001. The 42 ton BAe 146 can carry up to 112 passengers (as an airliner) or 12 tons of cargo. With a cruise speed of 800 kilometers an hour, the aircraft can stay in the air for about three hours when carrying a full load. The Royal Air Force will use these two aircraft in Afghanistan and later for any other overseas deployments of British forces. The Royal Air Force has long used two BAe airliners as VIP transports.