November 18, 2013
Boeing will fly a demonstrator of its P-8 Poseidon-based Maritime Surveillance capability in a Bombardier Challenger next year.
Partner Field Aviation has begun modifying the business jet to carry a Selex 7000-series radar, mission system, electronic support measures (ESM) system as well as an electro-optical camera, which will turn the aircraft into Boeing’s Maritime Surveillance Aircraft offering.
The demonstrator — which will be shown to potential customers during 2014 — will use a Boeing-owned Challenger 604, but customer aircraft will be based on the Challenger 605 model.
Tim Peters, VP and general manager of Boeing’s Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement arm, said the company had selected the Challenger because of the type’s payload, performance and speed capabilities.
The MSA will use elements of the mission system developed for the P-8 Poseidon, allowing the crews to integrate information from the various sensors on board the aircraft. Peters believes the aircraft will be an ideal choice for countries conducting long-range search and rescue, anti-piracy, environmental and economic zone patrols as well as general ISR missions.
The company says it is studying a wide range of sensors and systems for the aircraft, and while Boeing does not envisage an armed role for the aircraft, Eric Martel, Bombardier’s president of specialized and amphibious aircraft, said there were no airframe limitations if customers wanted to add pylons to the wings. Boeing plans to make the MSA available to customers in 2015.
The unveiling comes as Boeing presents the P-8 Poseidon at the Dubai air show for the first time. Boeing believes there is an increasing requirement for ISR and maritime patrol aircraft in the Gulf Region.
Few Gulf States operate fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft, mainly relying on helicopters for anti-shipping and submarine warfare. UAE has recently invested in a pair of Bombardier Dash 8-Q300s modified by Provincial Aerospace, while Oman is awaiting delivery of its first maritime patrol Airbus Military C295.