Bombardier Aerospace announced today that National Air Support (NAS) of Adelaide, Australia has placed a firm order for three Bombardier Q300 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) for the Surveillance Australia Coastwatch program.
The list price value for the three aircraft on firm order is approximately $53 million US.
Surveillance Australia began operating Bombardier Dash 8/Q200 aircraft in 1996 and currently operates five of the aircraft that have accumulated more than 70,000 hours of aerial surveillance. They are used to detect illegal fishing and immigration, quarantine and environmental hazards, drug smuggling and missing vessels in the largest operation of its type in the world.
NAS placed the Q300 aircraft order after winning a 12-year, $1 billion Australian dollars renewal of its contract with Australian Customs. In addition to the three new Q300 aircraft acquired from Bombardier, NAS will purchase and convert two Dash 8/Q Series aircraft from the existing fleet of sister company National Jet Systems to the surveillance role, doubling the size of the fleet.
“The large cabin of the Q300 accommodates sensor and communications consoles, aircrew and Customs officers, with room to move about on long flights,” said Peter Nottage, Chief Executive Officer, National Air Support. “The high wing and ideal window positions give our crew uninterrupted vision for surface search. When the aircraft is deployed away from base for extended periods, the crew appreciates its reliability and the fact that its auxiliary power unit turns the cabin into an air-conditioned, well-lit operations centre, wherever the aircraft is parked.”
“The four Q300 aircraft will be the ‘long arms’ of the fleet,” said Mr. Nottage. “Their much longer endurance will give us greater flexibility. We will be able to use them on missions requiring extra range, but they will also be able to loiter in a given area, or shadow a target of interest, for much longer periods of time on tactical missions.”
Mr. Nottage said the Q Series/Dash 8-300 aircraft also has considerable growth capacity to accommodate future operational upgrades and the extra fuel capacity will allow the aircraft to retain full mission capability during Northern Australia’s tropical “wet season” when other aircraft are impacted by weather-related fuel holding requirements.
This is the third order placed for the Q300 aircraft for a special missions role. The aircraft was previously chosen by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau for navigation aids inspection and calibration, and by the Swedish Coast Guard for maritime surveillance.
The Bombardier Q200 aircraft was chosen for maritime patrol by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. A Bombardier Global 5000 business jet has been delivered to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as an airborne research and development laboratory. Five Bombardier Global Express business aircraft were delivered to Raytheon Systems Limited for further delivery to the Royal Air Force in the U.K. for its ASTOR air-to-ground surveillance system.
“We are gratified that National Air Support once again turned to Bombardier to meet its requirement for maritime patrol and surveillance,” said Derek Gilmour, Vice President, Government and Special Mission Aircraft Sales, Bombardier Aerospace. “Special mission versions of our regional and corporate aircraft are becoming an increasingly important part of our business. They have a combination of robust airframes and efficient, cost-effective performance.”
The Surveillance Australia Q300 aircraft will be delivered to Field Aviation at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport for conversion to the MPA role.
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from regional aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2005, were $15.8 billion US and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
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