US to Fund RMAF’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft Acquisition Programme

The US government will fund the conversion work of two RMAF’s CN295 transport aircraft into Maritime Patrol Aircraft under its Maritime Security Initiative, and will be carried out under the Foreign Military Sales programme. It will see a full mission system provided by US firm Integrated Surveillance and Defense (ISD) installed on the two aircraft. This includes operator console, communications equipment, harnesses, and electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and a radar.

The work will be undertaken by Indonesian Aerospace (also known as PTDI) , which originally produced the aircraft under license, in Bandung. The first aircraft will arrive at Indonesian Aerospace in April, the second in May or June. The RMAF also has an option to convert a third CN235.

Separately, Malaysia will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), with conversion work pending to convert a pair of CN235 tactical transports to perform maritime surveillance.

According to a source familiar with the proposed deal, Malaysia seeks “five or six” aircraft capable of performing the full MPA mission, with the ability to detect submarines and prosecute them with torpedoes. The RMAF is clearly waking up to the importance of building its maritime surveillance capabilities.

The RFP is likely to attract interest from companies such as Leonardo, Indonesian Aerospace, and Airbus.

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