Canada's Field Aviation is to provide three modified Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) to the Swedish coastguard under a contract worth more than $80 million. The win comes as several countries evaluate lower-cost maritime patrol aircraft.

The Dash 8 was selected over the ATR 42, EADS Casa CN-235 and Dornier 328Jet to replace the coastguard's three Casa C-212s, says Joar Gronlund, vice-president of business development for Toronto-based Field. "There are a number of other countries interested in this size of aircraft," he says.

As prime contractor, Field teamed with Bombardier to offer new-build Dash 8s, with L-3 Integrated Systems providing the sensor management system. Bombardier will equip the aircraft with long-range tanks and auxiliary power unit and Field will modify the aircraft for delivery in 2007.

The Dash 8 Q300 MSA will be fitted with an underbelly 360¡-scan Elta surveillance radar; Wescam forward-looking infrared sensor under the nose; side-looking radar antennas - probably supplied by Terma, says Gronlund - mounted either side of the forward fuselage for oil spill mapping; and an under fuselage infrared/ultraviolet line scanner to detect sea surface pollutants. Three operator consoles will be installed, as well as the capability to air drop location flares, oil sampling bouys and life rafts. The aircraft will have an 8-10h patrol capability.

Field has previously modified five Dash 8-200s to maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for Australia's Coastwatch programme, and is under contract to modify the first two of a planned 12 Dash 8 Q200 MPAs for the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The first of these will be delivered this quarter. The company has also modified three Bombardier Challenger 604 business jets to maritime surveillance aircraft for the Royal Danish Air Force.

Source: Flight International