In RCAF Today 2019, we examine personnel retention, fighter procurement, future aircrew training and more!
Leonardo and Diamond Aircraft Industries are teaming up to offer a version of Diamond’s popular twin-engine DA62 aircraft customized for maritime surveillance missions. The new variant, designated DA62-MSA (maritime surveillance aircraft) will be on show for the first time at the Paris Air Show. It will be outfitted with a full intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) suite based on Leonardo’s ATOS (airborne tactical observation and surveillance) mission system.
The collaboration is a response to the need for cost-effective, short/medium-range land and maritime surveillance platforms in regions such as South America, Africa and Asia Pacific. The DA62-MSA meets this requirement by bringing together an affordable and pilot-friendly aircraft with a full set of state-of-the-art sensors which, through the ATOS mission system, deliver a single, intuitive operational picture to the crew.
The DA62-MSA’s baseline sensor fit will include a Leonardo Gabbiano Ultra-Light TS Radar, which comes with an extensive suite of modes including optimized maritime patrol capabilities (such as high sea state detection), high resolution ground mapping via synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes, ground moving target indication (GMTI) and weather avoidance modes. The aircraft will also come with a high definition electro-optic (EO/ IR) turret which, like the radar, will be fully integrated into the operator’s touch-screen ATOS display in order to follow and manage the surveillance missions. Sensor options will also be offered for users who require additional capability, including Leonardo’s SAGE electronic support measures (ESM) system and Spider communications intelligence (COMINT) system. SAGE provides tactical threat awareness and strategic intelligence gathering in the radio-frequency (RF) environment, while Spider can detect, intercept, identify and geo-locate communications of interest.
More than 110 twin-engine special mission aircraft have been sold by Diamond and more than 60 ATOS systems are installed by Leonardo on 10 different platforms, including for Italy’s Air Force, Guardia di Finanza (customs police) and Coast Guard, and Australian Customs. With the DA62-MSA, Leonardo and Diamond are able to offer an extremely cost-effective and user-friendly light ISR solution for maritime security needs, with a takeoff weight of 2,300 kilograms, endurance of up to eight hours and up to four crew able to operate with land and maritime radar.
Liqun Zhang, CEO of Diamond Aircraft said, “Diamond Aircraft is very proud to step into such an important strategic partnership with Leonardo to provide a cost-efficient high-performance maritime surveillance solution to the market. We all recognized the importance of such a capability and the high demand of many countries to protect their borders against illegal fishing and other criminal operations, this new airborne solution, based on our DA62 special mission aircraft, will be available to the market by the end of the year, ready to deliver and provide security and surveillance tasks. During Paris Air Show 2019, stand A6, the very first time Diamond will static display this configuration to the audience.”
“Partnership is central to Leonardo’s way of doing business and as such we are delighted to be working with Diamond Aircraft on this venture. Our aim is always to provide the optimum solution to our customers and we believe that this combination of Diamond’s platform with a full suite of Leonardo sensors and our mission system provides an extremely compelling offer for this market segment,” said Fabrizio Boggiani, senior vice-president, Airborne Sensors & Mission Systems, Leonardo Electronics.