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Boeing Unveils New Maritime Surveillance Plane

FARNBOROUGH, England -- Boeing developers have combined sensors and mission-equipment from their P-8 Navy surveillance aircraft with a Bombardier long-endurance Challenger 605 business jet to engineer a medium-size, high-speed, high-tech surveillance plane.

“We’ve taken P-8 mission systems, modularized them and put them on the Challenger 605. It has many of the same capabilities as the P-8 and the same look and feel with hand-picked sensors,” said Bob Schoeffling, a Boeing officials for maritime surveillance aircraft.

Although it will not be equipped with the weapons and anti-submarine warfare technology configured on the current P-8, the new aircraft will have many of the same sensor technologies currently in use on the P-8, Schoeffling said.

The newly unveiled plane is engineered for maritime surveillance, over-land surveillance, long-range search and rescue, border security and harbor security, he added.

The plane could also be used to patrol exclusive economic zones stretching several hundred miles off the coastline, Schoeffling said. These EEZ areas, established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, give nations the right to preserve and protect their economic interests up to 200 miles from shore.

Also, the plane will be equipped with a 360-degree active electronically scanned array multi-mode radar that includes synthetic aperture radar which paints a picture or rendering of the area below and Ground Moving Target Indicator, or GMTI.

The MSA is also equipped with high-definition, electro-optical-infrared cameras and dual-screen, multi-touch mission crew workstations.

The Bombardier Challenger 605 is 68-feet long and has a 64-foot wingspan. The aircraft can fly to altitudes up to 41,000 feet.

“We chose the challenger very carefully. We looked at a wide gamut of aircraft. We looked at it in terms of payload, speed, endurance and persistence,” Schoeffling added.

Although no specific countries were cited by Boeing officials, the company is currently discussing the MSA platform with a number of customers around the globe.

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