Canada appears to snub Boeing for the Canadian-made MPA

A CGI of P-4 MPA by De Havilland and PAL Aerospace. PAL

SHAH ALAM: Keeping up with the Joneses.Canada appears to snub Boeing for Canadian-made MPA, (the P-4) that has been proposed to the RMAF. As the RMAF’s search for a fleet of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) is reported to be nearly complete, I contacted Keith Stoodley, CEO for PAL Aerospace based in Abu Dhabi for an update on the status of his companies P-4 proposal.

While Stoodley refused to comment on the ongoing RMAF’s MPA evaluation process, he did offer insight into the impact that efforts by other countries’ will have as they seek to replace their aging fleets of P-3 MPA’s. One such country is Canada which issued a RFI on February 10 for the replacement of its fleet of fourteen (14) P-3’s at an estimated cost of US$8 billion. While Boeing was quick off the mark to indicate its interest in offering its P-8, others were quick to point out that Boeing has been blacklisted by the Canadian Government and that the P-8 would face tough competition by the Canadian built P-4 offered by PAL Aerospace.

A CGI of P-4 MPA by De Havilland and PAL Aerospace. PAL Aerospace

Readers will recall that I reported a year ago that De Havilland and PAL had signed an
agreement to develop and market the P-4 MPA that is based on the Dash 8 Q400 turboprop. Two weeks ago (February 2), De Havilland announced the recruitment of former PAL CEO Brian Chafe as their next CEO following the retirement of David Curtis. This appears to confirm earlier statements by De Havilland affirming its commitment to the Dash 8 including a series of long-term investments in upgrades and modifications and reaffirms the relationship between PALand De Havilland.
De Havilland PAL Aerospace Dash 8 P-4 MPA. De Havilland.

Stoodley pointed out that there are numerous reasons why the P-4 is the logical replacement
for ageing P-3’s in Canada and elsewhere but stressed the fact that the P-4 is the most powerful
turboprop in its class and can match the speed of its well-established but much older cousin,
the P-3. With a price point that is significantly less than that of the P-8, the P-4 utilises newer
technology including a state-of-the-art mission management system, an array of micro-
electronics and sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), C4ISR, communications relay, network extension and features including an optionally crewed variant.
US Navy ordnancemen fitting Harpoon missiles on a P-3 Orion MPA. US Navy.

If countries like Canada that have a long history in anti-submarine warfare, choose to replace
their fleets of ageing P-3’s with the P-4, the RMAF and other countries in this region that are
considering the P-4, will benefit from the long-term investments that PAL Aerospace and De
Havilland are making in the P-4.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. I wonder if the MPA proposal for TUDM include weapon station for AShM and ASW torpedoes ? Does sonobuoy inclusive in the proposal ?
    What about used USN P3, can be an option out of curiosity. If just base MPA/MSA might as well convert all remaining 4 CN235 and replace BN it with C295.

  2. kamal – ”What about used USN P3, can be an option out of curiosity.”

    Look at the reasons the RMAF discounted the possibility of ex Japanese ones …

  3. The fact that they are pushing the plane using just CGI is worrying indeed. If I were shopping for a car, and here comes one option but I can only see it in CGI not the real deal, it would rank very low in my selection no matter how good the performance it touts.

    Would TUDM prefer something unproven such as this over their soon to come MSA CN235s? Perhaps a C295 with the same sensor equipment plus weapon stations?

  4. @Lee Yoke Meng
    As a transporter, yes. But not yet as an MPA. Even then it doesn’t help that neither our civilian airline nor military are users of DH planes, unlike Leonardo’s ATR or CASA/PTDI’s Cseries.

  5. He conveniently forgots to mention one of the most important thing for a MPA.

    Range and endurance.

    So what is it compared to the P3 or something like the ATR72?

    There are probably plenty of compromises that canada are willing to take to have a 100% made-in canada platform, and not something from Boeing. But those compromises probably does not matter for malaysia.

    For example we are better off operating and maintaining say ATR-72 or even the CN-235 as our MPA platform, rather than the Dash-8, as spares and technical expertise are plentiful in our region.

    I don’t mind having PAL as a main contractor for our MPA, but it could be PAL putting the MPA stuff into something like ATR-72, not the Dash 8.

  6. As a counterpoint, Leonardo has an ASW variant for ATR72 and which uses the AMASCOS system plus carrying air drop torps.
    Now we do have AMASCOS, as PDRM has 2 units King Airs with it and these are soon to be retired due to reaching airframe lifespan.
    To save on cost, we could work a deal with Leonardo to buy outright 1 brand new ATR72 MPA (without weapons) and 2 new ATRs converted to MPA config with the AMASCOS system harvested from the retired King Airs. We could have 3 new MPAs for a cutrate price. Coupled with the 3 MSAs, we should be well covered.

  7. Kenyalang – ”’Range and endurance”

    I don’t think he ‘conviniently forgot” anything. Given that his comments on the P-4 were in reference to it possibly replacing the P-3 in Canadian service we can safely assume it has similar or superior range and endurance over the P-3.

  8. Joe,

    Leonardo only has the ASW variant of ATR72 on PowerPoints only. None yet build.

    There is two different ASW variant of ATR72, the Turkish one built by Thales with AMASCOS, and the Pakistani one built by Rheinland Air Service GmbH.

    PDRM does not have AMASCOS king airs, RMAF does. Although PDRM does have 2 king air 350 fitted with belly radomes, with no idea what is fitted in them. SIGINT systems?

  9. @Gonggok
    “None yet build.”
    Yes, no different than the above Q4/P4. But ATR72s are more widely adopted for other military usage as you have pointed out, furthermore MAS/Firefly is an established ATR user so support-wise, Leonardo has a leg up over DH.

    The point I want to stress is AMASCOS is not unknown to us and it being in current use onboard ATR platforms plus TUDM’s familiarity with the system gives it yet another leg up.

    “PDRM does not have AMASCOS king airs”
    Yup, your rite on that. Those belong to TUDM, making porting the system over to new planes even easier & more straightforward. We could get 3 MPAs for the price of 1.5-2 birds.

  10. azlan, “we can safely assume it has similar or superior range and endurance over the P-3”

    It does not have similar or superior range to the P-3.

    PAL is hoping that the P-3 replacement isn’t solely as a single platform, but a whole range of systems, that would offset the P-4 shorter range. In another interview in canada, PAL has mentioned that P-4 will operate along with MALE UAV and satellite geolocating systems.

    RMAF can plan for the same. Maritime situational awareness would be a combination of shore maritime radars, AIS stations, MPA/MSA, MALE UAVs and dedicated surveillance microsatellite with earth observation cameras.


    AMASCOS is an old mission management system. Latest systems use COTS hardware that would be easily upgraded. PAL uses Cartenav while Rhineland uses Aeromission, both based on COTS systems.

  11. @gonggok
    It is still effective and still promoted by Thales, and since we can get 2 of these systems harvested from existing planes for minimal cost…

  12. joe,

    mission management system is just a small part of what makes a MPA.

    We should get the most easily upgradable system, leveraging latest software advancements (like software defined systems).

    What are the most important for any MPA are the sensors, the radars, EO sensors, Optical radars, Sonobuoys, Magnetic Anomaly Detectors, Electronic Surveillance Measures.

    Anyway seems that there are users here that are on a different level, and i cannot even reply to what he say to me.

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