Aquila Aerospace at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Airport has secured a contract to modify a Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft to a multimission configuration for the UAE Air Force. A follow-on contract for a second aircraft is expected to be awarded later. The aircraft will be equipped for a variety of missions, including maritime surveillance.
Bombardier’s Specialized Aircraft division is supporting Aquila with engineering and technical assistance, but the modification work itself, plus integration, testing and certification to civil standards, will be undertaken by Aquila. The first new-build Challenger 650 is scheduled to arrive in ready-for-modification state in late summer.
The final configuration of the aircraft has not yet been defined, but for the maritime patrol role it is expected to have an electro-optic turret, large observer windows and sensor operator stations. A related mission envisaged for the aircraft is search and rescue, for which an air-openable door will be installed to permit the air-dropping of survival equipment and life rafts.
Other missions include military command/VIP transport, and medical evacuation.
Aquila Aerospace (Stand 09- B21, UAE Pavilion) is a government-owned company that is parented by ADASI, itself within the Tawazun group. The company was established to be the first modification centre in the Gulf region that specialises in special mission versions of business aircraft, and hopes to grow its business internationally, as well as expand its capabilities into a range of C4ISR-related solutions.