Swiss Air-Ambulance Rega signed a firm order for three Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft, to serve as air ambulances. The order is worth 130 million US dollars, including aircraft modifications such as the installation of a medevac interior. The planes are due to say their first “hi!” to the Swiss Alps in 2018.
Rega currently operates three Challenger CL-604 in the air ambulance role, as well as 11 AgustaWestland Da Vinci and 6 Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) EC145 choppers. As a privately funded foundation, its mission is to carry out air-rescue operations in Switzerland and to repatriate patients from abroad.
A true intercontinental aircraft with a range in excess of 4,000 nm (7,408 km), the Challenger 650 jet builds on the Challenger 605 aircraft with improved features such as the newly-evolved GE engines offering greater, shorter take-off distance, extra payload capacity and greater range capabilities out of challenging airports. The Challenger 650 jet also features a new flight deck and a completely restyled cabin.
NetJets became the global launch customer for the aircraft, when the first of its 25 ordered Challenger 650 jet was introduced at the National Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (NBAA) in Orlando, Florida, in October 2014.
Today, more than 40 countries operate and are served by variants of Bombardier’s business and commercial aircraft fleets in various missions and specialized applications.
The Czech Air Force keeps its active combat fleet on 56 aircraft in 2015, the Czech Ministry of Defence acknowledged.
Spearhead of the force are 14 SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen multi-role fighters, supported by 25 indigenous-developed Vodochody L-159 ALCAs. This brings the total fixed-wing combat aircraft fleet to 39. Closer to the ground 17 Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters provide a key function on the battlefield, giving the Czech a strenght of 56 aircraft.
Besides the combat aircraft the Czech Air Force in 2015 keeps 9 L-39 advanced training aircraft, 17 transport and observation aircraft (L-410, Yak-40, CL-601 Challenger, A319CJ, CASA/Airbus C295M), plus 35 unarmed transport helicopters (Mi-8, Mi-17 / Mi-171S, W-3A Sokol).
Source: Ministerstvo Obrany České Republiky (MOCR)
The Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) – popularly called the Poseidon Lite – is ready to show what it can do, the American aircraft manufacturer said on 22 January 2015.
Fitted onto a Bombardier Challenger 604 is a basic version of the sensors and capabilities of the Boeing 737 derivative P-8 Poseidon, of which the US Navy, the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy are purchasing up to 137 aircraft.
The aircraft went through its baseline ground, flight and system testing. The process included hundreds of scenarios to confirm performance of the Automatic Identification System, radar, Electro-Optical Infrared camera, communications radios and data links, Communications Intelligence System and the Electronic Support Measures.
Potential customers can choose a wide variety of aircraft to fit the MSA-platform into and are not bound to the Challenger 604. However, by using the Bombardier jet Boeing does somewhat preach the reliability of the jets of the Canadian aircraft manufacturer. The ‘Poseidon Lite’ made its first flight in February 2014.
British aviation enthousiasts already mentioned it earlier this week through the social media channels, and now it has been officially confirmed by a UK MoD official. The United States Navy currently flies operational missions with at least one of its Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
Thereby the American plane is now more or less the new “Nimrod”, with the British armed forces lacking sufficient anti-submarine capabilities since the retirement of the last of the 35 Hawker Siddeley / BAe Systems Nimrod MR2s at nearby RAF Kinloss on 31 March 2010. The planned introduction of the Nimrod MR4 was scrapped due to budgetary reasons.
In November the lack of underwater detection capabilities came into an alarming light, when London had to ask three fellow NATO nations to help search for a suspected submarine off the coast of western Scotland – a month after Sweden was searching for its “Red October”. Already then the US Navy dispatched a pair of its P-3Cs, supplemented by their Canadian cousin – a RCAF CP-140 Aurora – and a French Navy Dassault Atlantique 2.
A best quick fix for the British lack of MPAs might actually be for the Royal Navy to buy second-hand American P-3Cs from the same type that is now operating out of RAF Lossiemouth. The US Navy is slowly converting to the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPA, meaning many P-3 will soon be obsolete. Japan reportedly has offered its new but somewhat troubled and likely more expensive Kawasaki P-1, but insiders think there is no chance that London will go for that option.
The possible alternative is the use of a smaller airplane like the RAF’s R1 Sentinel, a Bombardier Global Express business jet stuffed with battlefield surveillance and intelligence gathering hard- and software. A likely candidate would then be Boeing’s Maritime Surveillance Platform, a light version of the P-8 cramped into a Bombardier Challenger 605 but adaptable to other aircraft.
For now it is the US Navy that provides the United Kingdom with a limited submarine detection and hunting force. For how long that will be is still undetermined.
Seen in a beautiful break in the blue yonder, the new Bombardier Challenger 350 has reached its first customer. NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway private aviation company, got the premier plane at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York.
Another seven Challenger 350s will make their way to NetJets this year, and more than 192 of the renewed model are already in the books of Canadian manufacturer Bombardier for delivery between now and 2024.
If you have never heard of NetJets, then your up for a shock: the company has ordered no less than 670 new state-of-the-art jets for up to 17.6 billion dollars since 2010 with several companies. Bombardier has been contracted for 38 of these aircraft, including 13 Global 5000 and 6000s.
The new Challenger 350 is a further development of the 300 series, which had its first flight in 2001. The 350 flies up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,926 km) at a cruise speed of 459 knots (528 mph or 850 kmh. The bizjet can climb 5,000 feet/min with 38,850 lb (17,622 kg) of gross weight, which is rather impressive for this type of aircraft. The new engines have lower emissions. Although one could squeeze 16 passengers into the Challenger 350, the jet will normally provide some nice room for only eight people.