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.
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.
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.
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.
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