Making its debut at the Dubai Airshow is the PAL Aerospace Force Multiplier, a special-mission ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platform that will be available for on-demand patrol and surveillance duties. Development of the Force Multiplier was announced in June, and the aircraft is now fitted out and being shown to potential customers.
From next year, both government and private customers will be able to buy flight hours on the Force Multiplier to meet a range of ISR needs without having to incur the long-term costs of acquisition and upkeep. The aircraft can be hired for short-duration contracts to provide ISR capability for a specific event, or could be employed as a force-augmentation tool during times of increased operational demand.
Headquartered in St John’s, Newfoundland, PAL will own, maintain and operate the aircraft, which is being pitched for a range of maritime and overland missions. As well as sea surveillance these include search-and-rescue, life-raft deployment, immigration control, surveillance of major events, forest-fire monitoring and border patrol. The aircraft could also undertake training missions as part of platform acquisition programs.
Based on a Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 airframe, the Force Multiplier draws on PAL’s four decades of experience of engineering, installing and operating systems for roles such as maritime reconnaissance. The Q300 platform provides an endurance of more than 10 hours.
Key partners includes Thales and CarteNav Solutions, the latter a wholly-owned subsidiary of PAL Aerospace. Thales provides the Searchmaster radar and AMASCOS mission system that are used for maritime patrol and high-end ISR missions. CarteNav supplies the AIMS Mission System software and surveillance information portal that permits the Force Multiplier to be equipped with various mission system suites for a range of ISR applications.
Force Multiplier also comes with a ground station that can provide command and control for the aircraft, as well as receiving surveillance data and imagery to provide ground commanders with the ability to take operational decisions in real time. The system also provides a replay capability for detailed analysis.