When Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon first arrived at the Singapore Airshow two years ago, it caused a stir. Defense buyers around the region were intrigued by the new aircraft, which was touted as reliable, capable and absolutely necessary in a region abundant with naval tension, both above and below the water. In 2018, the need has grown. China has spent the last few years building up military installations around the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, and its submarines are prowling farther afield, stoking Asian interest in planes that can sweep large swathes of ocean. The number of offerings on the market has grown too, but the cost of such specialized aircraft has kept the purchases relatively small for now. “Special-mission aircraft are a strategic asset,” said Avishai Izhakian, Israel Aerospace Industry’s (IAI) deputy general manager for airborne systems and radars, explaining why sales of such planes have remained elusive. “As such, the procurement process is very lengthy.” Among those joining Boeing in trying to address the market are Saab’s Swordfish Maritime PatrolAircraft, based on the Bombardier Global 6000 business jet; the Kawasaki P-1; the Airbus C295 MPA and proposed maritime patrol variant of its A320neo; Leonardo’s ATR… Read full this story
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