Saab has been steadily building its airborne ISR portfolio and hopes to secure its first deal in the maritime surveillance/patrol market in the near future. Saab has two offerings in this sector: the Saab 340 MSA (maritime surveillance aircraft), for which the company has produced a demonstrator that was on show at Farnborough; and the larger and more capable Swordfish. Saab has been keeping the UK aware of its developments in this field, although any formal requirement for a UK maritime patrol aircraft is not expected until after a strategic defense review next year.
Maritime patrol aircraft
Greenville,Texas-based L-3 Mission Integration announced that it has chosen the Bombardier Q400 regional airliner as the platform for a new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) offering. The company is partnering with Bombardier, Marshall Aerospace and Cascade Aerospace for the venture.
Both Tawazun and Mubadala are displaying models of the new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) version of the Piaggio Avanti that is under development for Adasi, a Tawazun subsidiary. Piaggio Aero, in which Mubadala has a large stake, is developing the aircraft platform with a long-span wing and increased foreplane and tailplane area, among other changes. Sweden’s Saab has been employed to provide the mission system. The MPA will be operated by a crew of four, comprising a pilot, two sensor/system operators and a mission commander.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou ceremonially welcomed the first Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft at Pingtung airbase on October 31. Three days later, the island’s first six Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters arrived from the U.S. by sea. Neither event was publicized by the U.S. government or the contractors, no doubt because of concern that mainland China would react adversely.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has issued a contract for the modernization of the Navy’s fleet of Ilyushin Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft. The Novella mission system will be installed in an unspecified but “large” number of aircraft serving in the Northern Fleet, making them Il-38Ns. Of the 59 aircraft produced between 1967 and 1972, some 18 are currently in operation. The work was initially planned for the Ministry of Defence’s aircraft repair plant No. 20 at Pushkino, but instead the MoD has contracted UAC’s Ilyushin and Myasishchev to undertake it at the Zhukovsky airbase near Moscow.
Airbus Military delivered the first C295 equipped for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to Chile.
The twin-engine, medium transport aircraft is equipped with search radar, digital avionics, magnetic anomaly detector, underwing hardpoints for sonobuoys or torpedos and an acoustic processor. The mission system is Airbus Military’s own fully integrated tactical system, with positions for four tactical operators.