Paris Air Show

Diamond DA62 MPP Makes World Debut

 - June 21, 2017, 6:44 AM
Diamond Aircraft’s static display at Le Bourget includes the diesel-powered DA62 MPP (front) and the DART-450 turboprop reconnaissance trainer.

Diamond Aircraft Industries (Static Display B6) introduced at the Paris Air Show the DA62 MPP (Multi Purpose Platform), a sensor-packed surveillance and reconnaissance Diesel twin, joined on static display here by a fleet of Diamonds making their debuts on either the world or Le Bourget stage.

A larger version of the DA42 MPP and the latest of its Special Mission offerings, the DA62 MPP, like the DA42 MPP, can be equipped with three different sensors. A belly pod is designed to house a gamma ray spectrometer, for measuring radiation levels, either natural or from a nuclear powerplant or weapon. The wingtips can be outfitted with magnetic sensors sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field, capable of detecting unexploded. The nose boom hosts a low frequency sensor that can be employed in mineral exploration and/or locating sources of groundwater.

“What makes the solution unique is the fact that [it has] all three types of geophysical sensors,” said Michael Pregesbauer, CEO of Geoprospectors, which makes the sensors. Before Diamond offered its turnkey platforms, customers had to buy sensors independently, integrate them into an aircraft on their own, perform all required calibration, and then learn how to use the equipment, Pregesbauer said. The DA62 MPP not only comes with installed and fully calibrated sensors, but Diamond also includes complete training and aftermarket support for the aircraft. Pregesbauer noted that while such sensors are sensitive to “noise” sources, the Diamond’s composite construction “gives a good signal-to-noise ratio compared to metal airframes.”

Underscoring the MPP platforms’ turnkey nature, the Austrian OEM is also showing in public for the first time its Diamond Ground Station, a high-tech intel center in a tent that can be quickly set up in a remote location, where all data gathered by Diamond Special Mission aircraft can be received and viewed in real time.

The DA62 MPP is powered by twin turbocharged 180-hp Austro Engine AE330 Fadec powerplants. In loiter power setting, the two engines burn a combined 7.4 gph, according to the company. It can be operated single pilot, though all four seats can be filled with flight crew and equipment operators for demanding missions.

Any combination of sensors can be incorporated—a LIDAR camera can be installed in the belly pod rather than a gamma ray detector, for example—and a satcom pod atop the aft fuselage can host additional Special Mission hardware. Though a helicopter could physically carry such equipment, Pregesbauer noted, the vibration and rotor wash affect accuracy of the sensors, and rotorcraft are much more costly platforms to operate. No cost for the platform has been announced.

Also making its Paris debut are the Dart 450, a single engine turboprop introduced in April at the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany. Making its world debut is the DA42 MPP TerraStar, a new member of the growing DA42 MPP fleet. The Dart (Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer), which had its maiden flight last month, is powered by an Ivchenko-Progress/Motor Sich AI-450S turboprop engine, turning a five-blade MT prop. An undisclosed customer recently purchased two TerraStars, a Diamond spokesperson told AIN.

The in-development DA50, the company’s top-of-the-line general aviation piston single, introduced at Aero Friedrichshafen, is also making its first Paris appearance. On track for EASA certification next year, it will be offered in five-seat configurations as displayed here, and a four-seater aimed the trainer market. The five-seater will be powered by a 260-hp Safran/SMA SR305-260E diesel engine, and the four-seater by a 230-hp version of the powerplant. A seven-seat version is slated for development as well. The seven seater will be available with three engine options, including a GE turboprop.