Queensland based Seabird Aviation is expected to announce a joint venture at July's Farnborough air show with Czechoslovakian manufacturer Evektor-Aerotechnik. Under the deal, Seabird's purpose-designed Seeker spotter aircraft would be built and marketed by Evektor-Aerotechnik in Europe and the Middle East, and other areas as yet unnamed.

The single-engined Seeker, with a tailwheel undercarriage and a 180hp Textron Lycoming 0-360 engine, is designed as an alternative to light helicopters in surveillance roles not requiring vertical landing and takeoff capability.

Seabird says the type's slow-flying capability offers all-round vision from its 'bubble' cockpit configuration, high manoeuvrability in typical observation missions, crew comfort for extended flights, and eight hours endurance.

Two Seeker demonstrators have been completed, and the type has achieved US certification under Federal Air Regulation 23 in the Primary Category, which allows its sale in the USA for observation use.

Seabird designed the aircraft and its production tooling for sale to franchised regional manufacturers under licence, and says all equipment to provide a full manufacturing and assembly capability will fit into two cargo containers.

Source: Flight International