CASA is developing its maritime patrol and surveillance capability, to offer customers a "quick response" in what it sees as a growing market for low-cost, effective offshore systems.

The company is awaiting an initial order from the Spanish air force to equip five Lockheed P-3 Orions with its latest integrated maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare equipment, and hopes to find other applications for the system on its own CN235 and C295 military aircraft and older platforms such as the Dassault Atlantique .

"We've made systems integration a core business activity," says Gerardo Gomez, CASA senior technology and sales support manager.

The state-owned Spanish company, being courted by various potential European suitors as it heads towards privatisation, is about to conclude a deal with Turkey to supply nine CN235 aircraft for the navy and coastguard, but it will have to compete on the mission equipment.

"We're waiting for the request for proposals, "says Gomez. CASA has prepared a "hot system" in the laboratory, using off-the-shelf equipment from various suppliers, which Gomez says "will ensure we are ready when the request comes".

The system is based on a core package comprising a tactical data processing system, linked to the aircraft's navigation equipment and to a 1553 databus which takes input from various customer-chosen surveillance and patrol sensors.

The interface with the navigation system is designed so that the aircraft can effectively be guided directly around a patrol area by the tactical systems operator.

A single workstation screen is used for all functions, allowing tactical information to be shown in a "windows" format, including, perhaps, a video of the outside scene coupled with a digital map display.

Source: Flight International