INDUSTRI PESAWAT Terbang Nusantara (IPTN) has expanded its study of a possible future airborne early-warning (AEW) role for the new N-250 turboprop.

The Indonesian manufacturer has formed a study team to look at AEW applications for the N-250. The study centres on around two AEW configurations proposed by competing Western avionics suppliers Ericsson and GEC-Marconi.

Ericsson has based its N-250 proposal on an earlier study of an AEW derivative of the CN-235 turboprop (Flight International, 13-19 December, 1995, P23). It would be equipped with the Swedish firm's Erieye electronically scanned radar.

GEC-Marconi is promoting its bi-polar Argus system, originally developed for the UK's now-defunct Nimrod AEW programme. A derivative of this radar and control system is being offered to China for the Ilyushin Il-76.

Development of the basic N-250 passenger aircraft is not expected to be complete until late 1997, and industry sources suggest that an AEW variant would not be ready to enter service before at least 2004.

The aircraft offers advantages over the smaller CN-235, notably its heavier maximum take-off weight and longer range and endurance. The N-250's larger interior would also allow the aircraft to be used for command and control, rather than being limited to a tactical role.

Source: Flight International