IAI Proposes Q400 MPA
IAI Elta Systems has devised a new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) solution based on the Bombardier Q400 twin-engine commercial turboprop, in recognition of growing demand for cost-effective maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
IAI (Booth N41) reports considerable interest in new MPA, which it has designated EL/I-3360, with projects active in “more than one country.” The EL/I-3360 is a modular system that could be tailored to a variety of aircraft types, but the platform of choice is the Q400.
The design encompasses a powerful sensor suite that includes anti-submarine capability, combined with an integrated mission system and comprehensive communications for “netcentric” operations. It would include IAI Elta’s EL/M-2022A maritime search radar, as used in a sizeable number of MPAs, turret-mounted electro-optical/infrared sensors, and an acoustic system that employs sonobuoys dispensed from a rotary launcher in the cabin. A typical mission crew would include two to four operators plus two observers.
IAI Elta would provide the systems and integration, but a Q400 specialist such as Field Aviation would perform the modifications. The aircraft would feature long-range tanks that are scabbed on to the fuselage sides, the engineering work for this modification having already been performed.
One potential customer is Singapore itself, which would use them to replace Fokker 50MPAs. Occasionally to be seen flying past the show site from their base at Changi-West, 121 Squadron’s Fokker 50MPAs have given great service to the Republic of Singapore Air Force, but the type has been around for nearly 20 years and the initiation of a replacement program is thought to be imminent. The IAI-modified Q400 has been cited as a possible candidate for the Singapore requirement, along with the Boeing P-8 and EADS/Alenia ATR 42MP.