With the Middle East becoming a hotspot for maritime surveillance requirements, top aircraft makers showcases their latest maritime surveillance programs at the Dubai Air Show.
Boeing unveiled its new maritime surveillance aircraft program based on the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet which would be used for anti-piracy missions, coastal and border security, and long-range search and rescue.
According to Boeing, the newly christened aircraft will cost about a third of a P8 and will be modified with mission systems by Field. The aircraft is scheduled to make its first flight next year ahead of trials and demonstration flights for potential customers, the company said in a statement.
Tim Peters, Boeing vice president and general manager for mobility, surveillance and engagement, said the aircraft in its current configuration would not be armed, but there is nothing to prevent that from happening if a customer required it.
“It allows countries, air forces and navies to get out long-range, and to look for enemy activity, smuggling, people fishing in waters they’re not supposed to fish in, and if there are border violations,” he added. “It really gives you a multi-sensor capability to operate a lot of different missions. It lets you get out to a particular area, a long way out, fast, and put eyes on the target.”
Meanwhile, Saab also showcased a new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) based on the 340 regional airliner at the Dubai Air Show this week.
The maritime surveillance aircraft uses second-hand 340 airframes which Saab refurbished to a as-new standard. Production of the 340 ended about ten years ago, allowing Saab to buy back the aircraft in order to remake it to a new jet.
The company offers the MSA at less than $20 million with the industry-standard 12-month warranty on the aircraft and, providing they are used according to the manuals, Saab says the aircraft can serve for at least 30 more years.
The fuselage is re-manufactured to suit the aircraft's new tasks. The overhaul includes the addition of a new range of systems as well as a completely refurbished working environment featuring everything the crew need for enduring long missions in comfort, the company explains.
The aircraft also has an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder for plotting vessels, and an automatic direction-finder that scans regular distress beacon frequencies. The direction-finder not only alerts the crew of any emergencies, but can also quickly calculate the survivor’s position through triangulation.