03 Agustus 2016
A Portuguese Air Force C-295MPA Persuader (photo : Alan Wilson)
KUALA LUMPUR: Airbus Defence and Space is set to pitch its surveillance aircraft C295 for maritime patrol to the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Airbus Head of Military Aircraft, Fernando Alonso, said today.
The C295, a new generation, reliable and highly versatile tactical plane, is already in use by the air forces of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, he said.
"We will be approaching the Malaysian Air Force to offer what we call a unique product and well-suited to what you need in the region," he told a media briefing on its operation in the region.
Alonso said this was in line with the European defence and space company's plan to be part of the South-East Asia's maritime patrolling activities as some of the countries were already using the C295s.
The C295 is able to carry up to nine tonnes of payload or up to 71 personnel, at a maximum cruise speed of 260 kt /480 km/h.
The plane, fitted with a retractable landing gear and a pressurised cabin, can cruise at altitudes up to 25,000 ft, while retaining remarkable short take-off & landing performance from unprepared short, soft and rough airstrips, as well as low level flight characteristics.
"We have developed specific mission capabilities in this plane, including search and rescue, maritime patrol and communication intelligence," he said.
Alonso said South-East Asia was a natural market for Airbus' aircraft across-the-board from the C295 and the technological advanced airlifter A400M.
He said the company was actively marketing A400M internationally with current orders at 174.
"We are not restricting ourselves to South-East Asia. We have active campaigns in most of the globe, certainly in the Middle East (and) northern Africa. We are talking to Australia and New Zealand. We have to materialise some exports in 2017," said Alonso.
In March 2015, the Royal Malaysian Air Force took delivery of the first of four A400M from Airbus Military, making it the plane's first export customers in Asia.
To-date, three A400M airlifters and a dedicated A400M hangar are in place at the air force's Subang Air Base.