Atlantis Aviation is leading a consortium to offer the Dornier Do 328 TP to provide an interim solution to South Africa’s outstanding requirements for maritime surveillance and search and rescue cover. To highlight the proposal, AeroRescue has brought one of its five Do 328s to AAD from Australia to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities as a multi-mission maritime platform and its suitability for South Africa’s needs.
As well as Atlantis and AeroRescue, the consortium includes Avex, which is an approved maintenance organisation and which would support the Do 328s in South Africa, and Aero Data from Germany, which provides and supports the mission system.
AeroRescue has been operating the five Dorniers under a 10-year contract to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coming to an end from February next year, when the first aircraft would become available. The aircraft are outfitted to a very high standard with military-spec equipment for the rescue mission. In Australia they have also been undertaking broad area maritime surveillance missions in support of border protection.
Search capabilities include a FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE III electro-optic turret, mounted under the port undercarriage fairing, and an Elta search radar that provides the ability to spot very small targets while doubling as a weather radar.
Aero Data’s mission console in the cabin can display imagery from both, plus other information, on a tactical display. The system can stream information back to a ground station. The flight deck is equipped with Honeywell Primus 2000 avionics, and has an extra multifunction display at each pilot station for radar/sensor display.
A typical crew comprises five: two pilots, sensor operator and two observers, with room for additional crew members if required. The observers are provided with side-facing seats and enlarged windows for visual searches. One of the aircraft’s assets is an inflight-openable rear cabin door, for which AeroRescue holds an STC. This allows the dropping of many items, from parachutists to liferafts and another survival equipment. The Do 328 can carry sufficient large liferafts to accommodate all those onboard a large airliner.
A total of 107 of four turboprop versions and one jet model were produced following its first flight in 1991.