News reports from LIMA 2013

A collection of on-site news stories by Alan Warnes covering regional issues and procurement activities.     


Forget the fighters its all about maritime surveillance!

The lessons from Sabah in early March, where policeman were gunned down by Philippino militias, were still fresh in everyone’s mind at LIMA 13.  These people had managed to get into eastern Malaysia unchallenged by sea and it is obvious the need for persistent maritime surveillance was never greater.

However it is not a problem associated just to Malaysia – Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia are all facing similar challenges in their own unique environment. All dread a Mumbai-style attack on their shores and are fully aware that drug trafficking, smuggling and terrorism are linked – with the cash from the first two funding the third.

With all that in mind it wasn’t surprising to see so many companies marketing their maritime patrol/surveillance solutions to these problems. Not just the platforms but the FLIR, radar and electronic countermeasures manufacturers too all wanting a piece of the action.

It is not just keeping an eye on the high seas there is also a need to boost their SIGINT capabilities over land – listening in on mobiles, laptops, reading emails and messages, in a bid to keep ahead of the sophisticated troublemaker whatever their objectives are.  The Global War on Terrorism isn’t just being fought in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia and Yemen it is being acted out at sea too.

With the Straits of Malacca being one of the most important waterways between the East and West, where some 130,000 vessels a year pass through it’s a problem that one country cannot take on by itself, it will need an international effort.  However these Asian states would be wise to get their own surveillance house in order to stop likely attacks well before any regular international support arrives.  Alan Warnes


Alenia pushes ATR 72MP/ASW

With so much interest in the maritime patrol (MP)/anti submarine warfare (ASW) role in the region it wasn’t too surprising that Alenia Aermacchi were marketing their new ATR 72MP/ASW.

Its predecessor, the -42 was only sold in the MP version, but Alenia believe the -72 with its greater autonomy and larger capacity due to its stretched fuselage, can be used in both MP and ASW.

The first ATR 72MP of four ordered by the Italian Air Force in December 2008, is expected to fly during 2013, equipped with a Selex ES Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) system.  The system is based on three main sensors; a Star Saphire HD FLIR, Selex ES Seaspray 7300E radar and an Elettronica Electronic Support Measures, which can interface into the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to identify vessels at sea and also use Link 11/16 and KU Band satellite communications.

With appropriate changes in configuration and integration of the above sensors and systems, the ATR 72MP can be transformed into a ASW platform.

According to Roberto Leva, Alenia Head of Sales Asia and Oceana: “There are already 44 ATRs serving in the civil sector with another 38 on order and there is already a ATR Service Centre in the region which makes it a perfect place when it comes to commonality”.


To date Alenia has sold 22 ATR 42MP/ATR 72MP and ASWs to customers in Europe and North Africa:


Italian Guardia di Fanzia (Customs Police)                      4 ATR 42MP

Italian Coast Guard                                                         3 ATR 42MP

Nigerian Air Force                                                            2 ATR 42MP

Libyan General Security                                                  1 ATR 42MP

Italian Air Force                                                               4 ATR 72MP

Turkish Navy                                                                   6 ATR 72ASW

2 ATR 72 Military Utility


A model of an ATR 72MP wearing navy markings appeared at the Alenia Aermacchi Stand. Alan Warnes


Turkey renegotiates MELTEM III ATR 72ASW deal

ALENIA AERMACCHI revealed at LIMA it had renegotiated terms of the MELTEM III contract signed in December 2005, with the Turkish Navy, during late 2012.  Initially the deal for ten ATR 72ASWs involved -500 variant with analogue cockpits that would be upgraded to glass cockpits at Ankara based Turkish Aerospace Industries. However delays in the integration, and subsequent launch of the glass cockpit ATR 72-600 led the Turkish Navy to request the newer versions instead. In return a compromise over the cost was agreed and the Navy purchasing six ATR 72ASWs instead of ten as well as two utility transports. The first utility will be delivered next year while the initial ATR 72ASW will follow in 2017.


VulcanAir’s ambitious plans

VULCANAIR is planning to build a major manufacturing facility at Subang for its SF600A Cangaru if the Malaysian Government goes ahead with substantial orders for their aircraft. The Naples based company is offering the Cangaru Utility Patrol and Surveillance Aircraft (CUPSA) to the MMEA, Police, Navy and Air Force as a solution to their urgent requirements.

According to the Michael Hall, VulcanAir’s Director: “they could be used in East Malaysia, Malacca Straits or even along the 250 mile (410km) border with Thailand. The Malaysians are using ground assets for border security but the Cangaru could provide a more sophisticated but cheap air surveillance option.

“The CUPSA can operate with 10 troops on board that could be air dropped wherever required.  In another scenario two aircraft could be deployed to the Spratley Islands and operate from a local airstrip”.

VulcanAir believe that with a squadron of 12 Cangarus the aircraft could be deployed to several FOBs all over Malaysia and provide the 24/7 surveillance they need.  Cassidian’s LEO seems to be the preferred FLIR option although no decision has yet been made on the aircraft’s mission systems.


Indonesia SIGINT needs
INDONESIA HAS an urgent requirement for a SIGINT platform, which appears increasingly likely to be purchased during the next five year budget plan in 2015-19.  It is likely that one of the CASA 212s in the Indonesian Air Force will be upgraded with the new systems.  The Boeing 737 Surveillers are in desperate need of replacement and it’s likely the TNI-AU will go for an increased number of CN 235-220s with SIGINT systems on board.


Another CN 235MPA for Indonesia Air Force

THE INDONESIAN Air Force (TNI-AU) has ordered another much needed CASA CN 235 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).  It comes six years after the first and only example was delivered to Skadron Udara 5 at Madassar.

An initial requirement for three MPAs, which led to a contract being signed with Thales in 1996 only led to a single aircraft being delivered. The financial collapse a year later saw the Indonesian rupiah devalued and cost of the contract hitting prohibitive levels.  As a result, only a single MPA aircraft fitted with a Thales AMASCOS 200 system was delivered and the other two remained as basic transport aircraft with SKU 5.  With obsolescence now creeping in, the Indonesian Air Force has contracted Bandung-based PTDI to replace the Thales system with a Telephonics AN/APS 143C3 maritime radar.

Now the Indonesian Air Force has procured a further CN 235 that will also house the Telephonics system as well as a FLIR Star Safire HDI.  Delivery is expected in 2015.

Indonesia needs to boost its airborne maritime surveillance assets in a bid to confront an increasing threat from terrorists arriving by sea, as well as other illegal activities such smuggling, human trafficking and pirates.

With some 17,508 islands Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago and while maritime surveillance radars have been installed on the largest islands there is still a need to patrol the seas.


Bangladesh Navy prepare for D0228NGs

RUAG expect to deliver the first of two Do228NG to the Bangladesh Navy in April after the export clearance has been granted. It will be followed in late May by the second aircraft.

The Swiss company hopes the Bangladesh Navy will agree to delay delivery of the second aircraft, so it can appear at Paris Air Show.  Three pilots have been trained in Germany  the co-pilots will be trained in Bangladesh by a company pilot after they had basic training in Germany.
The aircraft will be equipped with a 360 degree Telephonics RDR 1700B integrated with a moving map is play.  It also has a SAR role, equipped with air deplorable dingys and two life rafts.


Third Vietnamese CASA still in Sweden

THE VIETNAM Maritime Police has so far received two Casa 212-400s and the third is now at Skavsta being fitted with SSCs MSS 6000. There has been a delay because the parts being shipped from DTPI in Indonesia to Seville, Spain where the CASAs were being built. The MSS 6000 includes Selex ES 5000 radar, Star Safire HD and a new direction finder.


NC 212i Agreement signed

A small ceremony took place at the PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) Stand on March 26, to celebrate the signing of the NC 212i Development Plan Agreement.  Putting their signatures to what effectively commences the start of the aircraft’s development phase were  PTDI President, Budi Santoso and Airbus Military’s Domingo Urena Raso.

The risk sharing agreement shows both companies’ commitment to the project that will cross both civil and military markets.

According to Airbus Military “we are defining the avionics and will also replace the engine in a bid to reduce costs in a process expected to last until mid 2014”.

The NC212i is a development of the Airbus Military C212-400 with new digital avionics and autopilot systems, and a new civil interior for 28 passengers rather than the current 25.  It will be EASA and FAA FAR 25 certified.  Airbus Military announced on January 24 that it had delivered the last C212-400 assembled in Spain (the third for the Vietnam Maritime Police), ending more than 40 years of continuous production of the C212 at the Airbus Military final assembly line in Seville, Spain.  Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation (MOAC) will be the first recipient of a Casa 212-400 (c/n 109) built at PTDI.

The last six NC 212-200s are now on the production line, and are expected to be delivered to the Indonesian military, one has been contracted and five are expected on an incremental basis.  According to PTDI c/n 103 is for Indonesian Air Force, c/n 104 is for Indonesian Navy and c/n 105-108 for the Indonesian Air Force.


PTDI President, Budi Santoso and Airbus Military’s Domingo Urena Raso
sign the NC212i Development Plan Agreement at LIMA.


Indonesian Navy to receive more CN 235MPAs

THREE CASA 235s have been ordered by the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) with the first expected to be delivered in mid-2013.  PTDI will integrate the Thales AMASCOS 200 maritime system, which will house the more powerful Oceanmaster 400 radar.   The remaining two aircraft should be delivered by end of 2013.

Although the contract was signed some four years ago, in 2009, it was only put into effect during mid-2010 when an export creditor agreed to underwrite the acquisition.   According to PTDI there are two more CN 235s on order, but they are likely to call upon the Elta radar that is housed in four CN 235s delivered to the Korean Coast Guard last year.

PTDI has been sub contracted by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to design the aircraft modifications and integrate the systems on the CASA CN 235s of the Turkish Coast Guard MELTEM II (three) and Turkish Navy’s MELTEM I (six) programmes.  The latter the Oceanmaster 100.


This CASA 235 is not what it seems!  The Indonesian Navy will not be receiving this version,
fitted with the AMASCOS 300 system and a Magnetic Anamoly Detector (MAD) boom.
This is a Turkish Navy MELTEM I aircraft wearing Turkish Navy decals.


More Indonesian CASA 295s to be built in Spain

According to PTDI plans to build the last seven CASA 295s at Bandung have now been revised.  In the original deal that saw nine aircraft being purchased by the Indonesian Air Force, the first two which were delivered in September 2012, were produced in Seville and the remaining seven in Indonesia.  However the airframes of the next five Casa 295s (aircraft 3-7) will now also be built in Spain, with some avionics being integrated and the aircraft painted after being ferried to their new home.  The last two (aircraft 8-9) will be assembled in Bandung after the components are shipped to Indonesia’s Tanjung Prioa port and then trucked to Bandung.


On display in the static show was one of the two CASA 295s, A-2902, delivered to the
Indonesian Air Force in September 2012.  It is currently operated by SKu 2 but its believed
all the CASA 295s will eventually be transferred to SKu 27.



AIROD are currently working on a Bangladesh AF C-130B that crashed. They also have a contract to overhaul Libyan AF Hercules, with one currently being worked on at their Subang facility.

Malaysia’s fire-fighting agency, BOMBA is currently operating four Mi-17s comprising two Mi-17s and a pair of Mi-171s.  However this is set to rise to six, with the order of two Mi-172s.

AIROD has developed a fire fighting water gun – a contraption that sticks out he front although scanned on to the right of fuselage and it can also move out wards at 45 degrees..

AIROD has contract to overhaul the Cambodian AFs three Mi-17s.

It was announced at LIMA 13 that 14 Nuris will be upgraded in what is their fourth upgrade to date. Airod will partnered with Heli-One to carry out the work.