Published on December 20th, 2019 | by Mark Dwyer


Irish Air Corps to Acquire Two New Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D., has awarded a contract for the provision of two new Maritime Patrol Aircraft for the Irish Air Corps. The contract was awarded to Airbus Defence and Space who will supply the C 295 aircraft. The two new aircraft will replace the two CASA 235 Maritime Patrol aircraft which have been in service since 1994.

The two CASA CN235 aircraft (252 and 253) will have given almost 30 years of service by the time the new aircraft arrive in 2023. Photo via Irish Air Corps.

Awarding the contract the Minister said: “this investment in new Maritime Patrol Aircraft for the Air Corps, which is underpinned by the White Paper on Defence, is an indication of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all branches of the Defence Forces continue to retain a range of flexible conventional military capabilities in order to meet the roles assigned.”

The principal role of the CASA is maritime surveillance, particularly fishery protection. It also enables the Air Corps to provide a wide range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulance, search and rescue and a general utility role. They will be configured with Airbus’s Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) mission equipment, and optimised for maritime surveillance and fisheries protection tasks. They will also feature Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics; equipment first installed on the C295 in support of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s future fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft fleet. The cost of the contract, including equipment fit-out and ancillary support, is approximately €221.6 million including VAT.

The award of the contract follows a two stage tender competition and are scheduled for delivery in 2023. The C295’s will be built in the company’s production facility in Seville, Spain. Airbus Defence and Space has to date secured orders for a total of 214 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127-engined C295s from a combined 33 nations.

Alberto Gutiérrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “We are pleased to welcome the Irish Air Corps to our family of C295 operators, a signal of continued trust from an Air Force that already operates two Airbus CN235s.”

The White Paper on Defence has identified and prioritised the need for capital investment on a broad range of replacement defensive equipment programmes and on upgrading the Defence Forces built infrastructure. The Defence capital funding envelope of €541m over the 2018-2022 timeframe will also allow for the advancement and delivery of other major capital equipment projects in that timeframe. The project will be part funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme, co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.

C295 C235
Crew 2 2
Capacity (General) 73 troops / 48 paratroops / 12 stretcher intensive care medevac / 27 stretcher medevac with 4 medical attendants 51 passengers, 35 paratroops, 18 stretchers or four HCU-6/E pallets including one on the ramp
Length 24.46 m (80 ft 3 in) 21.40 m (70 ft 2​1⁄2 in)
Wingspan 25.81 m (84 ft 8 in) 25.81 m (84 ft 8 in)
Ceiling 25,000 feet 25,000 feet
Max Cruise Speed 260 KTS 248 KTS
Max Takeoff Weight 21,000 Kg 16,100 Kg
Range 2,477 NM 2,350 NM

Signing of contract for C295 aircraft: Assistant Secretary at the Department of Defence Des Dowling; Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) Major General Seán Clancy; Secretary General at the Department of Defence Maurice Quinn; Bernhard Brenner, Head of Marketing and Sales Airbus; General Officer Commanding Air Corps , Brigadier General Rory O’Connor; Hervé Daumas, Sales Director Europe Airbus.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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