Deepwater keeps on rolling

Madrid
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EADS Casa is preparing to deliver its first two CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft to Lockheed Martin by the end of this year for systems integration and testing in support of the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) Deepwater programme. The aircraft are set to enter service in 2008, says Vice Adm Terry Cross, vice-commandant of the service.

deepwatercn235
© EADS CASA

The first two HC-235A maritime patrol aircraft are to enter service in 2008

The Deepwater programme could require as many as 36 of the medium-range aircraft, which have been designated HC-235As by the USCG. However, Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) – the joint venture that is delivering the programme – has yet to sign a contract for more than the three aircraft now being produced.

At last week’s roll-out in Seville, Spain of the first aircraft, EADS Casa Deepwater programme director Javier Salas said: “We are expecting to receive new orders in a short time.” Leo Mackay, president of ICGS, said: “Negotiations for the follow-on contract are taking place and there is money in the budget for 2007 that could cover up to another three aircraft. We have every intention of continuing the programme.”

The USA has allocated $68 million for the aircraft in its fiscal year 2006 budget, and a request for $77 million for FY07 has been submitted, Mackay said.

HELEN MASSY-BERESFORD / SEVILLE