27 June 2023 – Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin visited Casement Aerodrome this afternoon to welcome the arrival of the first of two Airbus C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The Tánaiste was accompanied by the Department of Defence Secretary General, Jacqui McCrum and Chief of Staff, Seán Clancy, and was met by General Officer Commanding the Irish Air Corps, Brigadier General Rory O’Connor as well as members of the team involved in delivering the project and representatives from Airbus Defence and Space.
The contract for the supply of two Maritime Patrol aircraft was awarded to Airbus Defence and Space in December 2019 following an open tender competition.
These new aircraft, which replace the two existing CASA CN235-100 Maritime Patrol Aircraft purchased for the Air Corps in 1994, are primarily equipped for maritime surveillance, particularly fisheries protection, but will also provide the Air Corps with the capability to deliver a range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulances, search and rescue and a general utility role.
The aircraft were manufactured in Seville, Spain and the total cost of the contract for both Maritime Patrol Aircraft and associated training, ground equipment and spare parts is €230 million, inclusive of VAT. The second Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be delivered later this year.
Addressing those gathered at the event, the Tánaiste said:
“The arrival of this aircraft is an important moment for the Air Corps and a commitment delivered from the White Paper on Defence.
The replacement of the two CASA CN235’s with two larger, more capable aircraft will enhance maritime surveillance and provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo carrying tasks.
“At €230 million for both aircraft and the associated training, spare parts and ground equipment, this is the largest equipment acquisition project undertaken for the Defence Forces. This significant investment is an indication of the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that our Defence Forces retain a range of flexible conventional military capabilities to fulfil their roles and duties.”
Also speaking at the event Lieutenant General Sean Clancy said:
“The C295 is designed to operate in various conditions and terrains, the C295’s robust construction and versatility make it an ideal asset for a wide range of operational scenarios. Whether it be maritime surveillance, support to the Defence Forces at home or overseas, or support during humanitarian crises, the C295 will enable us to fulfil our commitments effectively and with precision as the State’s primary aviation provider.”
General Officer Commanding the Air Corps Brigadier General Rory O’Connor said:
“The procurement of the C295 aircraft is a testament to the Air Corps’ dedication to maintaining a modern and capable fleet. This acquisition reinforces our commitment to excellence, ensuring that our personnel have access to the most advanced tools and resources available. The C295 will undoubtedly elevate our operational readiness and enable us to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving security landscape.”
In his concluding remarks, the Tánaiste went on to commend the Department of Defence and Air Corps project team and their counterparts in Airbus Defence and Space for their hard work and professionalism in reaching this significant milestone.
Photo © Airbus Defence and Space SAU 2023 Sergio Flores Mango Producciones