Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR June 2017 Contents 50 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JUNE 2017
maritime security; and maintaining a regular presence
in the region in support of national sovereignty and
territorial claims. These are necessary to ensure
both military and civilian agency support outputs
are fully met.
The RFI breaks this down into 15 detailed
categories, too extensive to list here. However, it is
necessary to highlight some of them since they will be
crucial in determining the right supplier, aircraft, and
its sensor and weapons capabilities.
Primary combat capabilities relate to anti-surface
warfare (ASuW); underwater ISR and anti-submarine
warfare (ASW); as well as maritime and land ISR.
Border protection includes checking for fisheries and
Customs compliance as well attempts at illegal entry.
Offshore maritime security will be overwhelmingly
search and rescue throughout NZ’s SAR plus up into
the south-west Pacific Ocean. Presence will often be
combined with border protection.
A knowledgeable commentator with a military
background recently wrote that he felt too much
attention was being paid to the FASC platforms
and not enough to the sensors and information
processing equipment being carried in them. ‘As a
general statement, today’s hardware is long lasting
and usually adaptable, however it is the software
that is really the empowering factor. . . . . I say that
the platform is just a taxi service for the capability.
Today it's all about systems and how they interact,
communicate, to inform the decision making process
and executive actions.’
The field of FASC RFI responders is undoubtedly
led by Boeing with their P-8A Poseidon, already in
service with the US Navy and chosen by the RAAF,
amongst other air forces. There was a flurry of
excitement at the start of May when it was announced
that the New Zealand Government had received
Foreign Military Sales approval for four Poseidon
aircraft in a deal potentially worth US $1.46 billion.
Most likely this request was to get a price point to
help the project team developing its Initial Business
Case for Cabinet submission.
A Boeing spokesperson told APDR ‘Boeing
looks for ward to working with the New Zealand
Defence Force to meet their maritime patrol aircraft
needs. The P-8 provides the world's most advanced
anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and
armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
capabilities as well as the ability to perform
humanitarian missions and search and rescue. It is a
proven, flexible maritime patrol option that capitalises
on the benefits of being a military derivative of the
737, the world's most popular commercial jet.’
Airbus Military would have proposed their C295
MPA/ASW variant because as they state ‘its reliable
long time on station in combination with its Fully
Integrated Tactical System (FITS) make the C295
the perfect platform for Maritime Patrol and Anti-
Submarine Warfare missions.’ There are other
variants which could be of interest to NZ’s MOD.
Leonardo, promoting its impressive ATR-72MP
aircraft at the 2017 Langkawi International Maritime
and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in Malaysia, stated
that it ‘envisions significant export opportunities for
the aircraft ..... low cost of operation, ease of
maintenance and exceptional versatility in a number
of maritime roles.’ The ATR-72MP is centred on
the company’s internal catalogue of subsystems,
such as the EOST-23 multi-sensor surveillance and
tracking turret and Selex ES Seaspray 7300E active
electronically-scanned array radar. For ASW it can
carry two lightweight torpedoes.
Kawasaki’s P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, though
capable, has the same problem as their C-2 airlift
plane. It has never been exported, much less
sustained, in another country.
Lockheed Martin’s SC-130J Sea Hercules,
now in development, was proposed for maritime
patrol/anti-submarine warfare missions. Apart from
the obvious synergies with the C-130J-30 Super
Hercules for the FAMC requirement, an aircraft in
development still needs to be very well advanced
and then in military ser vice by 2020 before NZ
could seriously consider it.
Saab will have proposed their Swordfish MPA
outfitting of the Bombardier Global 6000 aeroplane.
The operating costs of this business jet platform
are significantly lower than for a military designated
aircraft. State-of-the-art AESA 360° multi-mode
radar; a multi-statics acoustic system; HD quality
EO/IR sensor with integrated laser payload; tight
data fusion with highly integrated C4 mission system;
secure communications suite; tactical and common
data link options are available.
Recent product development milestones at Saab
and Bombardier have validated a significant increase
in the available payload carried on Swordfish’s four,
NATO-compatible hard points. Swordfish can now
be armed with up to six lightweight-torpedoes for
the ASW role. Swordfish can also carry the Saab
RBS 15EF anti-ship missile or a mix of missiles and
torpedoes to assure total sea control in every aspect.
The Swordfish can equally carry a load of four search-
and-rescue pods underlining its true multi-mission
capability across the maritime domain.
Another capability that sets Swordfish apart
from competitors is its ASW suite with a magnetic
anomaly detector (MAD), gravity-launching systems
and an operational load of around 200 A, F and G
size sonobuoys. This complete and highly-capable
ASW suite enables Swordfish to locate, track and
Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion.
CoA / Helen Frank
Primary combat capabilities relate to anti-surface warfare (ASuW);
underwater ISR and anti-submarine warfare (ASW); as well as
maritime and land ISR.
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