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Field Aviation Delivers 10th Dash 8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to Surveillance Australia

Nov. 1, 2007, Toronto, Ont. - At a ceremony at Field Aviation’s Toronto airport facilities, the company today delivered the tenth Bombardier Dash 8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to its long-standing customer, Surveillance Australia.


November 1, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

Nov. 1, 2007, Toronto, Ont. – At a ceremony at Field Aviation’s Toronto airport facilities, the company today delivered the tenth Bombardier Dash 8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to its long-standing customer, Surveillance Australia.

“This is a significant milestone for Field Aviation as an organization; it is also fitting that this event takes place during our company’s 60th year in business as an aircraft modifier,” said Joar Gronlund, vice-president of business development at Field.

Field’s relationship with Surveillance Australia goes back 15 years when the two companies teamed up in preparation for the Australian Government’s COASTWATCH contract. This team was instrumental in Surveillance Australia being awarded the first COASTWATCH contract in 1994, and Field Aviation the accompanying modification contract.

The first three Dash 8 MPAs were delivered by Field to Surveillance Australia in 1996, and two more followed in 2000. These five aircraft have over the last 12 years flown more than 75,000 hours and completed 12,000 surveillance missions, with each aircraft providing more than 2,000 surveillance hours per year.  

The collaboration was maintained for the Australian government’s re-tender of the civil surveillance contract in 2004. The winning bid from Surveillance Australia included Field contracted to modify the five additional Dash 8 aircraft that have just been completed, as well as providing upgrade kits for the original five.

“The successful operation of the Dash 8 MPAs in Australia has not gone unnoticed, says Gronlund. “Our international customer list for Dash 8 MPAs has now grown, with the addition of US Customs and Border Protection, the Swedish Coast Guard, Japanese Coast Guard and the Icelandic Coast Guard. The number of Dash 8 MPAs deliveries will reach 23 within the next two years based on current orders, and we are still counting.”

The Dash 8 MPA capability has been constantly upgraded by Field Aviation since the first units were delivered 11 years ago, and new features, such as an air-operable rear door for paratroopers and rescue equipment, have been added to the options list. Current Dash 8 MPAs are evenly divided between the Series 200 and the larger Series 300 aircraft, but Field is also adapting the MPA modifications to the newer and larger Dash 8 Q400 aircraft for those customers that require the higher payload and increased cruise speed.  

Surveillance Australia specializes in surveillance-related aviation services, primarily serving the Australian Customs Service COASTWATCH program, the largest civilian aerial surveillance program in the world. A 12-year surveillance contract, valued at 1 billion Australian dollars was awarded to Surveillance Australia in early 2006, and 10 Dash 8 MPAs will be dedicated to this contract as of January 1, 2008.