Boeing is hoping to tap into the Asia Pacific airborne maritime patrol market with its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), which the company is showcasing for the first time at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX) 2015.
The Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet-based MSA will feature at the event which runs from 20 to 25 October.
First revealed at the Farnborough Airshow in 2012 (and debuted there in 2014), the Boeing MSA is equipped with the P-8A Poseidon mission system, the Selex ES Seaspray 7300 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (with synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator modes), and a FLIR Systems Star Safire 380 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret. It is not equipped with offensive weaponry.
Internally, the MSA has three fully interchangeable and interoperable mission work stations, although this can be increased to five. These stations can be folded away within the aircraft enabling the cabin to be easily reconfigured for other roles such as medical evacuation or executive transport.
While no customers have been signed to date demonstration flights have begun, with Boeing marketing the MSA to those countries that have a requirement to conduct missions such as counterpiracy operations, exclusive economic zone enforcement, immigration patrol, coastal and border security and long-range SAR, with particular interest being shown from the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. Shipping, offshore oil industries, and national fisheries all have to be patrolled and protected from state and non-state threats alike, while territorial sovereignty claims, such as those in the Gulf and South China Sea, have to be enforced.
Meanwhile, the need to provide for long-range over-water search and rescue, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, was brought to the forefront in early 2014 with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the multinational effort to locate it.
The global maritime patrol aircraft market is booming, with the Asia-Pacific and Middle-East regions enjoying particularly strong growth as nations look to safeguard their territorial and economic interests against perceived and very real threats.