Image: Airbus

Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin welcomed the arrival of the first of two Airbus C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft on June 27.

The contract for the supply of two Maritime Patrol aircraft was awarded to Airbus Defence and Space in December 2019 following an open tender competition.

Maritime surveillance

These new aircraft, which replace the two existing CASA CN235-100 Maritime Patrol Aircraft purchased for the Air Corps in 1994, are primarily equipped for maritime surveillance, particularly fisheries protection, but will also provide the Air Corps with the capability to deliver a range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulances, search and rescue and a general utility role.

The aircraft were manufactured in Seville, Spain and the total cost of the contract for both Maritime Patrol Aircraft and associated training, ground equipment and spare parts is €230 million. The second Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be delivered later this year.

More capable aircraft

Tánaiste Martin commented, “The arrival of this aircraft is an important moment for the Air Corps and a commitment delivered from the White Paper on Defence. The replacement of the two CASA CN235’s with two larger, more capable aircraft will enhance maritime surveillance and provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo carrying tasks.

“At €230 million for both aircraft and the associated training, spare parts and ground equipment, this is the largest equipment acquisition project undertaken for the Defence Forces. This significant investment is an indication of the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that our Defence Forces retain a range of flexible conventional military capabilities to fulfil their roles and duties.”

In his concluding remarks, the Tánaiste commended the Department of Defence and Air Corps project team and their counterparts in Airbus Defence and Space for their hard work and professionalism in reaching this significant milestone.

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