The South African Air Force will need new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) from 2016.
Brigadier General Tsoku Khumalo will tell this month`s defenceWeb maritime security conference the Douglas C47TP Dakota currently in use by 35 Squadron in a limited MPA role can only serve until 2015.
A draft of his conference paper shows that replacement of the current aircraft will then be essential.
The C47 has been in SAAF service since 1943.
They replaced the Avro Shackleton MR3, the last purpose-designed MPA, in SAAF inventory in November 1984.
Several were modernised in the early 1990s and fitted with turboprop engines in the place of the radial engines than carried.
About 11 of these aircraft remain in service.
Khumalo says the current planning will see the C47TP decommissioning by the end of 2015.
Its replacement will have to be cost effective, sustainable, appropriate and offer a growth path. It will need to be capable of inshore, coastal and deep-sea exclusive economic zone patrol as well as search-and-rescue work.
To support naval operations it will also require an ability to engage in antisubmarine and surface warfare.
The aircraft would require the ability detect, track, classify and identify surface targets and in wartime to engage the same with onboard weapons.
Pic: A 35 Squadron C47TP at AFB Bloemspruit, November 2008.
For more on this and related maritime security topics, consider attending defenceWeb`s Maritime Security Africa 2009 conference October 13 to 15 at the Radisson Hotel at the Waterfront in Cape Town.
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