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FARNBOROUGH: Diamond’s Dart-450 on-target at show

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Diamond Aircraft has been showing off its new Dart-450 reconnaissance trainer on the static line at the Farnborough air show, using the event to kick off its sales campaign.

The all-composite aircraft is powered by an Ivchenko Progress/Motor Sich AI-450 turboprop engine, which is able to take a wide range of civil and military fuels.

“We are very proud to have done the development in a rather short time and we are able to display flights here at Farnborough,” Dries tells FlightGlobal.

The show has acted as the public debut of the aircraft, and the start of the marketing of it to the world’s air forces.

“From now on we are communicating with a lot of potential customers and trying to find out what their needs are,” says Dries. The aircraft is being designed with a number of different options around the ejection seat, icing protection and head-up display, he adds.

In the cockpit, the Dart features a sidestick controller, and an intelligent flight management control system.

Although targeted at the civil and military training markets, the aircraft’s endurance of over 8h is also expected to lend itself well to reconnaissance missions. To that end, it has been pre-configured to carry retractable surveillance cameras and sensors.

Dries says the aircraft will offer customers a cost-effective and modern training and reconnaissance platform with low acquisition costs.

Asked about how big he expects the market to be, he says: “I’m not really worried about the market, I’m worried about how many we can produce.”

While the aircraft is set to undergo certification, Diamond is planning to build three more Darts by the end of the year, and is targeting to complete 10 to 12 units in 2017.

Dries adds that by 2018, the Austrian manufacturer aims to produce one aircraft each week.