Britten-Norman Ltd. was founded in 1955 to specialize in equipment for agricultural aircraft. Flew prototype of BN-2 Islander, a twin-engined feeder-line transport, on 13 June 1965. BN-2ATrislander, with a third engine mounted on vertical tail, first flown September 11,1970. Military version of BN-2, named Defender, first demonstrated 1971, able to carry 522kg of mixed weapons on underwing pylons. Name changed to Britten Norman (Bembridge) Ltd. in November 1971, when company ran into financial difficulties. Assets acquired in August 1972 by Fairey. In late 1977 the company was again in financial difficulties, an official receiver being appointed. In 1979 Pilatus of Switzerland took over the company, and it became known as Pilatus Britten-Norman Ltd. However, in July 1998 it was sold to Litchfield Continental Ltd., thereafter reverting to its original name of Britten-Norman Ltd. Manufacture of the Islander, Defender and latest BN2T- 4S Defender 4000 continues.

In January 1999 Britten-Norman received approval from the Board of Directors of Romania's State Ownership Fund for its tender offer to acquire Romaero.

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