Boeing forges ahead with MSA project

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Boeing is forging ahead with its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), with ground and flight testing underway.

Speaking at the African Aerospace & Defence exhibition being held at AFB Waterkloof, Robert Schoeffling of Boeing Military Aircraft noted that the prototype aircraft, based on the Bombadier Challenger 605 platform, had progressed from a paper design to being integrated with sensors and systems in just two years.

The Bowing MSA is based on the Canadian-built long-range Challenger 605 business jet, but incorporates sensors and systems from the Boeing P-8, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft installed by Boeing at their facility in Seattle.

Boeing says that e advanced mission system and sensors provides a cost-effective, highly-reliable platform for persistent surveillance at low risk. Missions include long-range maritime surveillance, anti-piracy, EEZ monitoring, anti-smuggling and search & rescue tasks.

Following first flight on February 28, 2014, the aircraft debuted at the Farnborough Air Show in July. The aircraft then returned to the USA and Boeing are currently analysing the performance of the sensors. Once this is complete, Schoeffling says that the aircraft will be actively marketed to customers from next year.

Schoeffling was coy regarding approaches made to South Africa regarding the applicability of the Boeing MSA to satisfy the South African Air Force’s requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft under Project Metsi.

Ever diplomatic, Schoeffling says that Boeing will first wait for the South African requirements before pursuing the matter with the SAAF.