A few days after confirming a pause in the production of the Dash 8 turboprop, De Havilland Canada announced on Thursday that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PAL Aerospace for the development of a maritime patrol variant of the turboprop. The model, called Dash 8 P-4, can be used in maritime patrol (“MPA”), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (“ISR”) missions, as well as other applications.
According to the two companies, the aircraft, based on the Dash 8-400, will receive auxiliary fuel tanks to offer a greater range, in addition to appropriate equipment to perform the new missions such as radars, magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) and other sensors.
“The considerable cabin space, payload capacity, best-in-class airspeed profile and advantageous operating economics of the Dash 8-400 platform, combined with De Havilland Canada’s proud 92-year history of innovation and leadership in aircraft design and manufacturing, provide an ideal foundation from which to launch the Dash 8 P-4 program,” said Jake Trainor, CEO of PAL Aerospace.
“PAL Aerospace’s unmatched credentials in the design and modification of MPA and ISR aircraft, their understanding of the Dash 8 as a current operator of the platform, and their more than 40 years’ experience in special missions operations are unique in Canada and around the world ,” said David Curtis, Executive Chairman of Longview Aviation Capital, De Havilland Canada’s parent company.
The two companies, however, did not detail a launch schedule for the Dash 8 P-4, which is lagging behind its turboprop competitors.
ATR already offers the ATR 72MP, based on the larger version of the aircraft and which equips Guardia di Finanza, a paramilitary division of the Italian government that patrols its territorial waters.
Airbus, on the other hand, has been more successful with the C-295 MPA/Persuader, an anti-submarine aircraft based on the former passenger turboprop CN-235 and operating in countries such as Chile, Ireland, Algeria, Portugal, among others.