Angola receives maritime surveillance aircraft from Israel


The Angolan Air Force is operating a Cessna Citation jet configured by Israel’s BIRD Aerosystems for the maritime surveillance role.

IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Citation has been 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 will be delivered at a later date.
“The client wants to be able to identify motherships that remain outside of the waters and the smaller associated satellite fishing vessels that enter its waters,” Shaul Mazor, vice-president of marketing and business development at BIRD, told IHS Jane’s.

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

The Citation (N54FT) was exported from the United States to Angola at the beginning of the year and cancelled from the US register on 19 January 2017. Its previous owner was listed by the Federal Aviation Administration as “Bank of Utah Trustee”. The aircraft was then seen at Megiddo Airfield in Israel in January and was flying in Angola by August. The aircraft was built in 1979.

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.