Dubai Air Show

Sama light spyplane sees action in Iraq

 - December 7, 2006, 9:24 AM

On its stand (E504a) Jordan Aerospace Industries (JAI) is displaying its Sama CH2000 light observation aircraft, which is now in use with the Iraqi Air Force at Basra.

Developed from a Canadian Zenair design, the original CH2000 dates from 2001 and is powered by a 116-hp Lycoming. Four have been supplied to the Mid-East Aviation Academy in Jordan for training, and six have been built for the Iraqi Air Force for the reconnaissance role.

For the latter, the two-seaters are fitted with an HF/VHF/UHF communications suite and a FLIR Systems turret under the central fuselage. A hand-held controller is used to manipulate the FLIR, imagery from which is displayed on a screen above the instrument panel. Imagery can also be relayed to a ground vehicle based on an SUV. Endurance is four to five hours.

Further Sama developments are the CH2000-A with 140-hp engine and the CH2000-B with a TAE Centurion engine that can run on diesel or Jet A1 fuel, or a mixture. The latter is due to fly in around two months. More radical is the CH2000-C, a four-seat derivative under development with a larger wing.

JAI also is manufacturing the Hawk-I CH8000 multi-purpose STOL aircraft, the Hajanah EL-1 eight-seat utility transport (based on the Colombian Gavilan design), and has just started construction of the Shibel two-seat jet trainer.

JAI is a privately owned company, but has excellent support from the Jordanian government. In conjunction with the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau, it has established Jordan Advanced Remote Systems to produce a range of small unmanned aerial vehicles and targets.