Viking Air is showcasing its Guardian 400, a para-public variant of the DHC-6-400 Twin Otter, for the first time at the Paris Airshow.
Sharing the same multi-role versatility as the Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, the Guardian 400 can be equipped with wheels, floats, (straight or amphibious), skis, or intermediate floatation gear.
“With low acquisition and operating costs, exceptional endurance, low speed maneuverability, short take-off and landing from unimproved surfaces including flexible mission architecture, the Guardian 400 is a cost-effective solution for special mission requirements. The aircraft can be quickly re-deployed and adapted from surveillance, transportation, search and rescue, medical evacuation and additional mission profiles providing a low-cost force multiplier as an invaluable asset to government and military fleets,” an official at Viking Air says.
The Guardian 400 demonstrator carries a variety of sensors including a Self-Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) pod with a Hensoldt Argos EO/IR imaging turret, and under its right wing a SCAR pod with Leonardo Osprey radar system and Sentient ViDAR camera system. It also features a laser range finder and a tactical workstation. In addition to integrating sensors, the DHC-6-400 Guardian has an increased take-off weight and extended-range internal patrol tank that allows for operational sorties of more than 10h.
“The Guardian 400 also provides the flexibility to transform the aircraft into a bespoke solution specific to the operators’ mission requirements, with the ability to add sensors to the pod or the aircraft as fixed or removable systems,” says the company official. “In addition, the large cabin volume, flat floor, large cargo door, conformal observation windows, and general flexibility of the cabin, including flight crew access doors, makes the Guardian 400 a far more flexible platform than any other.”
There are 12 Guardian 400s in service worldwide, which are flown by the US Army, Vietnamese navy and United Arab Emirates air force. Some 22 examples of the civilian Series 400 Twin Otter are also operated by militaries and governments around the world, including the Peruvian air force, Panamanian air force and United Arab Emirates air force.