The Elta Systems division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has teamed up with Bombardier to offer a maritime patrol aircraft based on the latter's Q400 twin-turboprop.

Avishai Izhakian, deputy general manager of Elta's airborne systems and radars division, said on 23 November that the Q400 is being offered as a direct replacement for the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion. "This aircraft has very low operational costs and gives the crew a very comfortable working environment," he said.

The maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and search-and-rescue-configuration aircraft is being offered by Elta/Bombardier in co-operation with Canada's Field Aviation. Its main sensor is the Israeli company's EL/M-2022 maritime surveillance radar, with the package also including optical payload and signals intelligence-gathering equipment.

The partners are using the experience gathered in adapting Bombardier's Q300 for maritime patrol applications with the Elta radar for nations including Iceland and Sweden.

Izhakian said the Q400 version has a "very big" market potential, as countries are more aware of the need to monitor seas for multiple threats, including piracy.

The Israeli navy is among those to have expressed interest in a Q400-based maritime patrol capability, although budget problems have so far delayed any real negotiation. The service currently uses the legacy IAI 1124 Westwind, although Israel is also now using IAI Heron unmanned air systems for close-range maritime surveillance.

Source: Flight International