A new contender for the lucrative maritime patrol and border surveillance aircraft market is shining at the show, with its Austrian manufacturer anticipating strong local demand.

Diamond Airborne Sensing has flown an enhanced version of its DA42 MPP Guardian to Dubai in a military-inspired grey colour scheme, after recently integrating key new equipment. It now has a Telephonics RDR-1700B maritime search radar and a Scotty satellite communications suite installed, in addition to an electro-optical/infrared sensor mounted beneath its nose.

"These were the only parts that were missing," said Markus Fischer, the company's marketing and sales director. "With this capability we can do the same as the big, fixed-wing aircraft, but on a totally different budget."

Diamond quotes a per-hour operating cost of just €120 ($167) to use its Austro AE300-engined DA42, which offers a mission endurance of up to 12h. For the maritime patrol application, its two-person crew would typically be expected to stay airborne for 6-8h.

The company views this combination of affordability and mission performance as a key selling point for the Guardian. "We expect many orders in the future in this region," said Fischer. To support its promotion of the aircraft, Diamond is conducting a demonstration at 1pm each day in its chalet (A6), showing live footage relayed via satellite from an aircraft in flight in Austria.

Diamond has meanwhile launched programmes to find 65kg (143lb) in weight savings from the DA42's structure and to also increase its maximum take-off weight to just under 2 tonnes.

Source: Flight Daily News