African country getting maritime surveillance Citations


Israel’s BIRD Aerosystems has been contracted to supply Cessna Citations configured for the maritime surveillance role to a new, undisclosed African customer.

The company on 19 December said the aircraft would be fitted with its Airborne Surveillance, Intelligence and Observation (ASIO) maritime solution as well as its Mission Management system (MSIS).

“The aircraft will share the operational picture with ASIO mission management stations installed on the customer’s Naval Ships and HQ command, ensuring that all operating teams share a unified, real-time situational awareness picture,” BIRD Aerosystems said.

It added that the maritime surveillance aircraft will be used to defence the customer nation’s maritime border against threats such as piracy, smuggling, illegal fishing, oil theft and terror operations.

The ASIO aircraft will be delivered to the customer as a turnkey system, which includes the aircraft overhaul and upgrade effort to be conducted at BIRD Aviation Cyprus, a fully owned Maintenance and Repair Organization (MRO) subsidiary launched in 2017 in Cyprus.

Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder of BIRD Aerosystems said, “We are thrilled to win another important customer in Africa and see this contract as a vote of confidence by our customers that trust us to continue delivering advanced and cost-effective maritime patrol programmes around the world. Our ASIO solution is specifically tailored to meet our customer’s operational requirements and will allow them to protect their maritime borders against the diverse threats which they are facing.

BIRD Aerosystems has already supplied maritime surveillance aircraft to Africa. In late 2017 it emerged that the Angolan Air Force is operating a Cessna Citation jet configured by BIRD for the maritime surveillance role. The Citation was fitted with Leonardo’s SeaSpray active electronically scanned array (AESA) multimode surveillance radar and a Controp electro-optical (EO) sensor in a belly fairing. The aircraft also has an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver and satellite communications systems.

BIRD Aerosystems told IHS Jane’s that the $20 million Airborne Surveillance, Information, and Observation (ASIO) contract includes the maritime surveillance aircraft, ground-based command and control centre and ASIO workstations on naval vessels. More aircraft were to be delivered at a later date.

BIRD Aerosystems in February 2015 announced a contract from an undisclosed customer for maritime surveillance aircraft “installed with multiple sensors and multiple sub-systems”.

Bird Aerosystems was established in 2001 in Israel. It specialises in airborne missile protection systems and airborne surveillance, information and observation solutions for maritime and ground surveillance.