Ireland’s Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe T.D., this week signed a contract for the provision of three new fixed wing utility aircraft for the Air Corps in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.
The new aircraft type is to be supplied is the Pilatus PC-12 NG, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, Stans, Switzerland.
The new aircraft, which will replace the five smaller Cessna FR172H aircraft purchased for the Air Corps in 1972. The new aircraft will be equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) taskings, logistics support including transport of Defence Forces troops and equipment, and medical evacuation/air ambulance taskings.
The PC-12 is a large single-engine turboprop utility aircraft which will be capable of operating in these roles on a 24/7 basis in all weather conditions at home and overseas in that respect it could support UN peacekeeping duties the type is already used by the Finnish Air Force and Finnish troops are currently in shared deployment in Lebanon with Irish peacekeepers.
The purchase is part of a more general re-equipment programme for the Air Corps which will see over €400m or procurement in the next few years. Also scheduled for replacement are the Air Corps CASA Maritime Patrol aircraft a major asset for both search and rescue and policing of the major fisheries areas around the Republic.
Image: Military PC-12 this one in Finnish Air Force markings
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