Oman orders C295s for airlift, maritime patrol duties

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Airbus Military has received a new order to supply eight C295 medium transport and maritime patrol aircraft to the Royal Air Force of Oman.

 

Signed on 19 May, the deal will include the production of five aircraft dedicated as transports and three to be configured as maritime patrol assets, Airbus Military says. Deliveries will commence from the company’s San Pablo final assembly line in Seville, Spain in 2013.

 

The C295 transports will serve as replacements for Oman’s aged fleet of five Shorts Skyvan 3Ms, which Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database records as having been delivered between 1970 and 1975. The maritime patrol aircraft will provide a new capability to patrol territorial waters and counter piracy, illegal immigration and smuggling, the company says.

 

© Mark Mansfield/Airbus Military

A contract value has not been disclosed, but Airbus Military confirms that its contract also includes the first sale of a palletised pollution control system which will be used to deploy dispersants in response to oil spills. The equipment can be carried by a C295 transport without the need to perform any structural modifications.

 

The deal also has increased Airbus Military’s order intake for light and medium transports to 24 aircraft so far this year, with contracts also having been signed with nations including Indonesia. This contrasts with a record low of five units sold in 2011.

 

Further sales are also anticipated this year, says Antonio Rodriguez Barberan, senior vice-president commercial, who cites a possible contract with Cameroon as one example. “I think we are in a position to recover from the market slump of last year,” Barberan says, predicting that the company’s order total for this year could reach around 30 aircraft. “We are selling the planes in emerging markets, which is where we were betting on.”

 

Meanwhile, Barberan reveals that Airbus Military has held preliminary discussions with three nations over a proposed airborne early warning and control system version of the C295. He declines to name the prospective customers for the tactical system, which is being offered in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Systems subsidiary.