The C-143B is a modified Bombardier Challenger CL-600 long-range,
executive-class jet equipped with specialized instrumentation for Combat
Flight Inspection (CFIN).
The three-aircraft fleet is owned by the Federal Aviation Administration and operated by FAA/USAF to certify that air base NAVAIDs (Navigational Aids) such as TACAN, VOR, and ILS, as well as approach/departure procedures are safe and meet applicable standards before all-weather flight operations can begin.
USAF has lacked a fully organic CFIN capability since retiring the C-29A and handing flight inspection over to the FAA in 1991. The FAA and USAF jointly funded replacing the aging and range-limited C-29A, and USAF procured a single airframe in FY09.
Due to the high-risk environment, Air Force Flight Standards Agency Det. 1 crews from Will Rogers ANGB conduct flight checks in combat theaters, as well as forward locations including Antarctica.
In addition to combat ops, the fleet is tasked with inspecting CONUS and OCONUS, and dual U.S.-partner-nation facilities. USAF funds support procurement and maintenance of military-specific equipment required for
CFIN, including secure anti-jam radios, IFF, Mode 4/5 transponders, and
self-defensive suites for protection during forward-deployed operations.
FY21 launches Large Aircraft IR Countermeasures (LAIRCM) upgrades to improve self-defensive capabilities against MANPADs/small arms fire. An initial two aircraft will be upgraded with Block 40 LAIRCM, with a potential for additional airframes to be upgraded later.
Contractor: Canadair (Bombardier).
First Flight: Nov. 8, 1978.
IOC: Circa 2010.
Inventory: Three (FAA-owned).
Operator: AMC, AFRC (associate).
Aircraft Location: Will Rogers ANGB, Okla.
Active Variant: • C-143B. CL-600-2B16 with uprated turbofans and winglets, equipped for the CFIN role.
Dimensions: Span 61.8 ft, length 68.4 ft, height 20.6 ft.
Weight: Max T-O 40,125 lb.
Power Plant: Two GE Aviation CF34 turbofans, each 9,140 lb thrust.
Performance: Speed Mach 0.83, range 3,915 miles.
Ceiling: 45,000 ft.
Accommodation: Two pilots, flight inspection technician.