Diamond Aircraft is using this year's Farnborough to highlight the multi-mission capabilities of its DA42 Guardian reconnaissance and surveillance platform.

Christian Dries, chief executive of the Austrian company, says the DA42 is quiet, producing just 58dB at 500ft, roughly 20dB less than competing aircraft.

That advantage, he says, is achieved thanks to the aircraft's AE300 engine, manufactured by sister company Austro, which is then equipped with a muffler system that additionally reduces its infrared signature, Dries says.

Dries says that as Diamond also makes the jigs, tools and other equipment needed to manufacture the DA42 it can easilly set up turnkey factories in other countries. One is already being created in China, he notes.

The DA42 has a range of about 1,079nm (2,000km) and each engine burns about 12 litres (3.2 gallons) of fuel per hour while performing observation missions, he says.

And it can carry a variety of sensor payloads housed in an easily exchanged pod, Dries says.

In addition, Diamond Aircraft has been working with US-based Aurora Flight Sciences to develop an optionally piloted version of the aircraft.

Dries says the market for the DA42 is subject to two opposing forces. While instability in many places of the world is driving demand for surveillance aircraft, economic uncertainty continues to weaken the private aircraft market, he says.

Source: Flight Daily News