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UAE first contract for home grown light attack aircraft

Posted 20 November 2019 · Add Comment

The UAE’s “home grown” light attack aircraft, the Calidus B-250 has won its first order from the UAE. The $260million deal for 24 aircraft was announced at the Dubai show today and opens the door for export market potential sales


The Calidus B-250 could potentially attract customers from all over the world because, unlike its rivals – the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Beechcraft T-6B Wolverine – the aircraft should not be regulated by International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) rules. Thus, the US cannot call the shots on who buys it.
Built for close air support, counter-terrorism activities, training and the collection of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It also feels like it is has been set up as a fighter jet
Saif Alkaabi, a former UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) Mirage 2000-9 pilot, and now the vice president of marketing at Calidus, said: “It’s true. Our aircraft is mission-ready. It has not been built as a trainer then converted into a new mission like so many of our rivals. We have built it as a light attack aircraft.”
Calidus acquired Brazilian company, Novaer, to build the B-250 project in 2015. The first B-250 turboprop was unveiled at Dubai Airshow 2017 and has since been shown at IDEX earlier this year and at the 2018 Bahrain International Airshow.
At first glance, it looks similar to the Super Tucano, which is not surprising given both aircraft were designed by Novaer’s Joseph Kovacs. But, before the B-250’s designer started his work, he was told by Calidus that the aircraft had to be faster – with an air speed up to 300mph flying straight and level – pull between -3/+7G and have the most advanced technologies on board. It should also have a maximum endurance of 12 hours.
Powered by a 1600shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 engine with a four-blade Hartzell propeller, the aircraft got its speed and more. According to Alkaabi, it can actually reach 380mph during manoeuvres.
The deal will support the growth of the local defence and manufacturing industry, as well as improve the UAE's profile in defence production capabilities.
Maj-Gen Pilot Abdullah Al Sayyed Al Hashemi, assistant under-secretary of the Ministry of Defence for support services, said the deal involves spare parts and support for the aircraft.
"The UAE was looking for aircraft dedicated for multi-role tasks and this is equipped with a variety of capabilities. Most of the weapons and ammunition to be used for the B-250 aircraft will also be made in the UAE," he added.
 

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