Leonardo and Diamond Aircraft Industries are teaming up to offer a version of Diamond’s popular twin-engine DA62 aircraft customised for maritime surveillance missions, and will be unveiled at the Paris Airshow.
The new variant, designated DA62-MSA (Maritime Surveillance Aircraft) will be outfitted with a full Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) suite based on Leonardo’s ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) mission system.
Liqun Zhang, CEO of Diamond Aircraft says, “This new airborne solution, based on our DA62 Special Mission Aircraft, will be available to the market by the end of the year, ready to deliver and provide security and surveillance tasks.
The collaboration is a response to the need for cost-effective, short/medium-range land and maritime surveillance platforms in regions such as South America, Africa and Asia Pacific, officials close to the project say.
“The DA62-MSA meets this requirement by bringing together an affordable and pilot-friendly aircraft with a full set of state-of-the-art sensors which, through the ATOS mission system, deliver a single, intuitive operational picture to the crew,” Fabrizio Boggiani, Senior Vice President Airborne Sensors & Mission Systems, Leonardo Electronics says.
The DA62-MSA’s baseline sensor fit will include a Leonardo Gabbiano Ultra-Light TS Radar, which comes with an extensive suite of modes including optimised maritime patrol capabilities (such as high sea state detection), high resolution ground mapping via synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes, ground moving target indication (GMTI) and weather avoidance modes. The aircraft will also come with a High Definition electro-optic (EO/ IR) turret which, like the radar, will be fully integrated into the operator’s touch-screen ATOS display in order to follow and manage the surveillance missions. Sensor options will also be offered for users who require additional capability, including Leonardo’s SAGE electronic support measures (ESM) system and Spider communications intelligence (COMINT) system.
SAGE provides tactical threat awareness and strategic intelligence gathering in the radio-frequency (RF) environment, while Spider can detect, intercept, identify and geo-locate communications of interest.
More than 110 Twin Engine Special Mission aircraft have been sold by Diamond and more than 60 ATOS systems are installed by Leonardo on 10 different platforms, including for Italy’s Air Force, Guardia di Finanza (customs police) and Coast Guard and Australian Customs. With the DA62-MSA, Leonardo and Diamond are able to offer an extremely cost-effective and user-friendly light ISR solution for maritime security needs, with a Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 2,300kg, endurance of up to 8 hours and up to four crew able to operate with land and maritime radar.