The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is to become the launch customer for a surveillance variant of the Diamond DA42 Twin Star. Canada's border patrol agency has ordered 12 DA42 multipurpose platforms (MPP), with an option for a further three, which it will use to patrol its border with the USA.

The aircraft, which has a rear observer workstation and a single pilot, is designed to provide a silent observation platform able to operate at 660ft (200m ) without being detected. The aircraft's two 100kW (135hp) Thielert Aircraft Engines Centurion 1.7 diesels can be slowed to around 1,700rpm, or around 27% maximum power, to provide a reconnaissance mode cruising speed of 55kt (100km/h), says Diamond chief executive Christian Dries. The Austrian manufacturer is working on a remote control unmanned air vehicle variant with an undisclosed defence company, he says. The aircraft can fly for 18h in reconnaissance mode using the standard fuel load or 24h with an auxiliary fuel tank, Dries adds.

Dries says there is a huge demand for border patrol aircraft in the European Union new member states and that the Twin Star MPP has received interest from Australia and New Zealand for fisheries patrol.

The DA42 has already secured 100 orders since its launch at the ILA Berlin air show last year (Flight International, 14-20 May 2002)

A second prototype will join the test programme in September ahead of serial production and certification by year end.

Source: Flight International