Italy's Vulcanair is at Paris displaying a version of its P68 Observer fitted with one of the largest surveillance cameras available.

The unit from Cassidian Optronics is mounted on the P68's internal elevator system allowing the infrared camera to be stowed for landings.

The Naples-based aircraft manufacturer says some 300 of the surveillance aircraft are in service and predicts further orders as companies and government agencies increasingly look for low-cost observation platforms. The price tag for the P68 without camera equipment is about €1 million ($1.33 million), says the company.

Additionally, says chief executive Remo de Feo, the Lycoming IO-360-powered aircraft's endurance of around 10.5h is appealing for agencies such as the police, who have previously used helicopters for surveillance tasks.

"Because our customers do not always have governments to sign their cheques, it is a much tougher business environment."

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Source: Flight Daily News