THE CASA CN-235 Persuader and Fokker Maritime Enforcer Mk2 are emerging as the front runners competing for the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) soon-to-be-decided order for new a maritime-patrol aircraft (MPA).

The UAE air force is seeking four aircraft for MPA missions, including anti-submarine warfare and surface strike. The programme has gained importance with the delivery of Russian-built Kilo-class submarines to neighboring Iran.

Ex-US Navy Lockheed Martin P-3Cs have been offered, and Indonesia's IPTN is also competing with its CN-235 MPA.

The P-3C, however, is considered to be too difficult for the UAE air force to support. The service is also understood to be dissatisfied with IPTN after-sales support for seven CN-235 utility aircraft.

In the meantime, CASA has moved to improve its position in the UAE with a pre-offset investment in a local joint-venture construction-material business. Fokker has signed, a memorandum of understanding with Gulf Aircraft Maintenance, to establish a Fokker 50 support centre.

Source: Flight International