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Minister Kehoe T.D. Signs Contract for Three New Fixed Wing Utility Aircraft for the Air Corps

€32 million investment in Air Corps capability

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe T.D., today 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 to be supplied is the Pilatus PC-12 NG, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, Stans, Switzerland. The award of the contract follows an open tender competition.

The new aircraft, which will replace the five Cessna FR172H aircraft purchased for the Air Corps in 1972, 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.

The cost of the contract, including equipment fit-out, is approximately €32 million excluding VAT. The first two aircraft will be delivered in 2019 and the third will be delivered in 2020.

Signing the contract the Minister said “this investment in fixed wing utility aircraft for the Air Corps, which is underpinned by the White Paper on Defence, is an indication of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all branches of the Defence Forces continue to retain a range of flexible conventional military capabilities in order to meet the roles assigned by Government”.

The White Paper on Defence has identified and prioritised the need for capital investment on a broad range of replacement defensive equipment programmes and on upgrading the Defence Forces built infrastructure.

The Defence capital funding envelope of €416m over the 2018-2021 timeframe will also allow for the replacement of both of the Air Corps CASA Maritime Patrol aircraft and other major capital equipment projects in that timeframe.

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