Irish Air Corps Orders Two Airbus C295 Aircraft for Maritime Operations

Irish Air Corps has signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space for two C295 aircraft configured for Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) role.

The Air Corps said in a statement that the new aircraft will “provide enhanced capability for the Irish Air Corps and the Irish Defence Forces in maritime defence and security role”.

The cost of the contract, including equipment and support, is approximately €221 million.

Both aircraft will be equipped with the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) and specific state-of-the-art mission sensors together with the recently announced Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics. With this new order, the Irish Air Corps will become the 33rd C295 operator worldwide.

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 two new C295 aircraft will be manufactured by Airbus at their production facility in Seville, Spain. They will replace two CASA CN-235 Maritime Patrol aircraft, that entered Air Corps service in 1994.

Irish Air Corps CN-235 MPA
An Irish Air Corps’ CASA CN-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA).

Working in close conjunction with the Irish Naval Service, the two CN-235 aircraft of 101 Squadron provide an aerial platform for patrolling the Irish Economic Zone, an area of approximately 132,000 square miles or 16% of the total EU sea fisheries. This in itself represents an area almost five times the land area of Ireland and encompasses perhaps one of the most productive fisheries in the world.

The main roles of the aircraft are offshore/inshore maritime patrol, air ambulance, military transport, Search and Rescue (SAR) top cover and Parachuting operations.

Airbus C295

The EADS CASA C-295, now designated Airbus C295, is a twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft currently manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space. The aircraft is a development of the Spanish–Indonesian transport aircraft CASA/IPTN CN-235, but with a stretched fuselage, 50% more payload capability and new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines.

The C295 conducts multi-role operations worldwide under all weather conditions. It is fully certified and routinely operates day and night in combat missions in all weather extremes, from desert to maritime environments, from extremely hot to extremely cold temperatures.

With the new C295W version equipped with winglets, the aircraft is capable of transporting more payload over larger distances in the hot and high conditions, resulting in fuel consumption savings of around 4% and increased safety margins in mountainous regions.

Previously produced by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA, a Spanish aircraft manufacturer that is now part of Airbus Defence and Space), the C295’s production takes place at Airbus’ facility in Spain. The aircraft has received orders from military and civil operators all over the world, from Canada and Egypt to Spain and Indonesia. The C-295 is currently in service with the armed forces of more than 15 countries.

Airbus C295 MPA - Chilean Navy
Airbus C295 MPA – Chilean Navy

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