I quite enjoyed this video of RSAF Fokker 50 operations overthe Gulf of Aden last year. I found it interesting that despite the sensorpod under the fuselage they still have a photographer snapping away in thecabin and then loading the photos onto a laptop. I would expect that the pod under thefuselage is much better suited to this purpose, and no doubt can snap photos ortake video from much farther away and at night as well.
I also found it odd that it took them so long to upload thisvideo. The aircraft returned to Singapore in July 2011, and it is not as if thereis anything the video that is operationally sensitive. Somalia’s pirates arewell aware that those grey aircraft flying about over the Gulf of Aden are notcarrying tourists on joyrides.
Anyway, I got in trouble with an engineer for writing thatSingapore could possible replace the Fokker 50 with an upgraded type, such asP-3C or even P-8, or an ‘equivalent’ type such as the Ruag Do228NG. He wrotethat replacing a Fokker 50 with a Do228NG would be like replacing an F-15 withT-6C. I would argue that miniaturisation means the Do228NG, itself a fairlylarge airframe, could carry a formidable suite of systems for the maritimepatrol role.
That said, perhaps Singapore could go for two MPA types. A lightMPA like the Do228NG for routine local duties, and something like the P-8 forASW and long range patrols out in the South China Sea or at the northern end ofthe Straits of Malacca.