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UAE evaluates European anti-submarine aircraft

posted on 21/03/2001: 1622 views

The UAE is evaluating the C-295 aircraft made by the European company EADS Casa. The evaluation of this aircraft fitted with the FITS system for anti-submarine operations gains significance in view of the presence of submarines in the Gulf and the strength it provides to its maritime capabilities. "We are hopeful that the UAE will put the C-295 aircraft into active service in the near future," said Alberto Fernandez, executive vice-president and head of the military transport aircraft division at EADS Casa.

The aircraft will enter active service with the Spanish forces in September. A company official declined to provide the details of pricing of the aircraft. If need be, anti-submarine detection capabilities can be fitted onto a standard C-235 aircraft as well. The anti-submarine version will shortly be tested by Turkey as well. It is also in the running for a deal from the U.S. for its MSA segment of the Coast Guard's deep water programme. The others in the bid are Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the SAIC/Sikorsky consortium.

In the Middle East, Casa transport aircraft are used by Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan. The Mako programme, undertaken by EADS with the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, is aimed at launching the first flight of a prototype aircraft in early 2005. "Currently we are looking at technicalities and the feasibility of the aircraft," said Jean Paul Gut, executive vice-president and head of EADS International.

The number of aircraft to be built under the Mako programme has yet to be finalised, he said. "The requirements of the UAE are not clear at this moment. However, there is real interest shown in the project." EADS' order book in year 2000 was valued at 131 billion euros, a 30 per cent rise over 1999, giving the group business for the next five years. (The Gulf News)


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