Boeing said its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) demonstrator, a modified Bombardier Challenger 604, completed its first flight on February 28 from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Subcontractor Field Aviation conducted the four-hour test flight.
In November, Boeing selected the Challenger 605 as the platform for the MSA, which takes advantage of technologies developed for the larger Boeing 737-based P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft the U.S. and Indian navies use. The Royal Australian Air Force has also ordered P-8s. The MSA’s baseline configuration features an active electronically scanned array multi-mode radar, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, electronic support measures, a communications intelligence sensor and automated identification system, Boeing said. Field Aviation will modify the Challenger 605 structure and air vehicle systems for the MSA configuration.
The MSA is designed for search and rescue, anti-piracy, coastal and border security missions. “Not everyone is going to need a full P-8 capability,” Jim Armington, Boeing vice president for East Asia and Pacific international business development, said during the Singapore Airshow in February. “The MSA will bring about 80 percent of the capability at a much lower price point.”
Boeing said it achieved the first flight of the MSA demonstrator on an accelerated schedule, using rapid prototyping and lean manufacturing techniques of its Phantom Works advanced technology organization. The companies will conduct additional airworthiness flights over the next two months. Once those flights are completed, the aircraft will fly to a Boeing facility in Seattle, where the company will install and test the MSA mission systems. (Ainonline)