posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 11:06 AM
Three years after discarding the Nimrod programme the UK is now starting to move towards acquiring a new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), hopefully a
move that will allow us to relieve the Hercules of this totally unsuited role.
The industry is catching on to the fact that the govt may be about to reverse the decision and, mindful no doubt of tightened budgets these days,
apart from the obvious candidtate which is the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, manufacturers are also making their case for smaller and cheaper options.
Airbus Military is starting to press for the C-295MPA to be shortlisted by the RAF, seemingly having given up any hope long ago that its P-8-like
A320MPA will ever be adopted by anybody. It would certainly be a massive shock if the Airbus twin was selected over the P-8 as it is not yet even
developed. The C-295 however must be seen as a realistic alternative being both cheap and in service already. Here is a model and some artwork Airbus
have prepared to hammer home the point;
Along similar lines is a proposal from SAAB. This is called the Swordfish (a Royal Navy name, but hey ho) and is based on the SAAB 2000 regional
airliner. A SAAB stand at the (SAAB sponsored!) Waddington show I attended earlier this month featured this proposal along with SAAB's other military
turboprops and a flying display from SAAB jet fighters from the J-29 to the JAS-39, as if to emphasise how great at planes they are, here is the SAAB
2000 demonstrator as displayed;
I think these are the most realistic options for an RAF MPA these days, which is a shame from the country that was able to boast for over 30 years
that it had the most capable and ONLY jet powered MPA in the world in the Nimrod.
For my own opinion I would also like to see us evaluate the Japanese Kawasaki P-1, which I am sure would be far cheaper than the P-8 and far more
capable than either of the turboprops. With a BAE Systems tie in and Rolls Royce engines we could hardly go wrong.
Finally, in an idle moment last year, I mocked up this MPA from a photo of an Air Canada Embraer ERJ, I just hope we get SOMETHING, soon.