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The new CASA 295 landing at Casement Aerodrome. Irish Defence Forces
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The Irish Air Corps' new maritime patrol aircraft touches down in Dublin

The aircraft is the first of two CASA 295 aircraft which will be used to patrol the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone off the Irish coast.

THE AIR CORPS has taken delivery of the first of its two new new Airbus maritime patrol aircraft. 

The Tánaiste Micheál Martin and the Chief of Staff Seán Clancy along with Department of Defence General Secretary Jacqui McCrum welcomed the aircraft as it touched down in Casement Aerodrome earlier today.

It is one of two aircraft that will replace the current CASA CN235-100 used to patrol Ireland Exclusive Economic Zone – the second aircraft will arrive in the coming months. 

The Irish Defence Forces said the aircraft, are equipped for maritime surveillance, particularly for fisheries protection.

They will also provide the Air Corps with the capability to deliver a range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulances, search and rescue and a general utility role.

The aircraft were manufactured in Seville, Spain and the total cost of the contract for both Maritime Patrol Aircraft and associated training, ground equipment and spare parts is €230 million. The second Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be delivered later this year.

The Tánaiste, who is Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, said that the provision of the new CASAs was a commitment in a previous White Paper on Defence. 

“The replacement of the two CASA CN235’s with two larger, more capable aircraft will enhance maritime surveillance and provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo carrying tasks.

“At €230 million for both aircraft and the associated training, spare parts and ground equipment, this is the largest equipment acquisition project undertaken for the Defence Forces.

“This significant investment is an indication of the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that our Defence Forces retain a range of flexible conventional military capabilities to fulfil their roles and duties,” he said.

C295W _31 Chief of Staff Lt Gen Seán Clancy and Tánaiste Micheál Martin speaking to the media at Casement Aerodrome today. Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

Lt Gen Sean Clancy, said that the airframe gives the Defence Forces a versatile platform for a variety of missions. 

General Officer Commanding the Air Corps Brigadier General Rory O’Connor said the C295 was part of his organisation’s commitment to a modern fleet.

“This acquisition reinforces our commitment to excellence, ensuring that our personnel have access to the most advanced tools and resources available. The C295 will undoubtedly elevate our operational readiness and enable us to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving security landscape,” he said. 

In December 2022, a contract was awarded to Airbus Defence and Space for an additional C295W aircraft – this time a Military Transport variant.

The principal role of that aircraft is for air transport missions and will be delivered in 2025.

It will enable the Air Corps to provide a wide range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulance, special operations forces missions.

The cost of the contract, including equipment fit-out and ancillary support, is approximately €59 million exclusive of VAT (€73m including VAT).

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