The Irish Air Corps has received its first of two C295 maritime surveillance aircraft from Airbus Defence & Space, with the twin-turboprop having touched down at its Casement Aerodrome on 27 June.
Acquired via a roughly €230 million ($252 million) contract signed in December 2019, the new aircraft will replace a pair of CN235-100s in service. The deal also covers spares parts provision and training services.
“The new aircraft are primarily equipped for maritime surveillance, particularly fisheries protection, but will also provide the Air Corps with the capability to deliver a range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulance, search and rescue, and a general utility role,” the Irish Department of Defence says.
Ireland’s lead C295 had appeared at the Paris air show earlier this month, within Airbus’s static display exhibit.
“The second maritime patrol aircraft will be delivered later this year,” according to Dublin.
“The replacement of the two CN235s with two larger, more capable aircraft will enhance maritime surveillance and provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo-carrying tasks,” says defence minister Micheal Martin.
Brigadier General Rory O’Connor, general officer commanding the Irish Air Corps, says the procurement “will elevate our operational readiness and enable us to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving security landscape”.
Dublin also last December ordered a single C295 in the tactical transport configuration for approximately €59 million. To also activities by support special operations forces, the asset will be delivered during 2025.