Canadian special mission specialist Field Aviation has won the contract to modify five new aircraft for Surveillance Australia.

The five Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprops will be turned into maritime patrol aircraft and watch over Australia’s 15 million square kilometre (5.8 million square mile) maritime economic exclusion zone.

The deal follows Surveillance Australia winning the $1 billion, 12-year Australian Customs Service’s Coastwatch aerial surveillance contract. Starting in January 2008, Surveillance Australia will provide surveillance services with a fleet of 10 Dash 8s equipped with modern maritime surveillance sensors and systems. 

“Field will modify the aircraft with a mission interior, large conformal observation windows, increased maximum take-off weight, as well as provisions for the latest technology surveillance sensors,” confirms Joar Gronlund, vice-president business development. Gronlund says this includes a 360˚ surface search radar and a stabilised electro-optical multi-spectral imaging payload. A new suite of modern mission navigation and communications systems will also be fitted.

“The Asia-Pacific region is a key market for us and we are using the show to talk to a number of key contacts,” adds Gronlund. “For example, Malaysia should make an announcement next month about a contract for maritime surveillance and Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei have all expressed a requirement for such aircraft.”
The aircraft modifications for will start in April.

Source: Flight Daily News