The United Arab Emirates Air Force will buy a new Challenger 650 business jet configured for a variety of missions including maritime surveillance, search and rescue, and medical evacuation, according a release sent during the IDEX exhibition.
The aircraft, made by Bombardier, will be modified by UAE-based Aquila Aerospace, with the assistance of Bombardier’s Specialized Aircraft Division. It is expected to be delivered to Aquila’s modification center at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi sometime in 2019.
While the initial contract only covers one aircraft, there is an option for a second plane to be acquired in the future.
As for what the UAE will be doing with the aircraft, the release from Aquila lists a variety of mission types. They include maritime surveillance, search and rescue, command and control, VIP transportation, medical evacuation, and ISR.
The UAE currently operates several other aircraft for similar roles, including two Bombardier Global 6000s configured for ISR, 2 Saab 200s configured for airborne early warning, 2 Bombardier Dash 8s for maritime surveillance, and a variety of aircraft for the VIP transportation role. In addition, the UAE Air Force is under contract to receive Saab’s GlobalEye airborne early warning aircraft.
Modifications to the new aircraft will include new doors, mission operator stations, and installation of several undisclosed sensors.