Ireland has announced the acquisition of two Airbus C295 medium airlifters in a maritime surveillance configuration.

With this new order, the Irish Air Corps will become the 33rd C295 operator worldwide.

Airbus say that both aircraft will be equipped with the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) and “specific state-of-the-art mission sensors together with the recently announced Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics.”

Alberto Gutiérrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said:

“We are pleased to welcome the Irish Air Corps to our family of C295 operators, a signal of continued trust from an Air Force that already operates two Airbus CN235s.”

The C-295 is manufactured and assembled in the Airbus Military facilities in the San Pablo Airport, in Seville, Spain.

It is a development of the Spanish–Indonesian transport aircraft CASA/IPTN CN-235, but with a stretched fuselage, 50% more payload capability and new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines. The C-295 made its maiden flight in 1998.

The first order came from the Spanish Air Force.

The Czech Air Force also recently signed a contract for the acquisition of two additional Airbus C295 medium airlifters. The Czech aircraft, equipped with winglets and ordered in transport configuration, are due to be delivered in the first half of 2021.

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Why doesn’t the royal Navy have maritime aircraft like this? Even the Orion, I’m sure USA has a few we could have cheap to help keep our waters safe, even deploy two to the falklands and maybe cyprus for helping to look after the armed.


Med! Not armed!

Daniele Mandelli

I don’t know.

Would it be more cost effective utilising a small number of aircraft ( 2 ) like this for the Falklands over the single Atlas there?

New type, more logistic tail. Balanced to that the Atlas is a key asset in short supply ideally used elsewhere, notwithstanding its use helping Chile at the moment.

I think the Med is awash with NATO assets, I would not bother for Cyprus personally.

Andy P

Agree that there’s no point bringing in a new (old) aircraft type for a relatively short period of time. We’re getting our new shiny MPA’s coming along and we’ve depended on our allies so far, helping each other out is what its all about.

Sceptical Richard

Good idea Cam. These are excellent MPA. And affordable. They would provide good cover round U.K. waters freeing the P8s for the serious blue water stuff.


Because firstly the Rh has no aircraft only the RAF do, monitoring of UK costal waters or those of overseas territories is not a role for the MOD ( it’s carried out by the coast guard who do have planes of their own and in overseas territory by various agencies. The MOD does need to defend against enemy submarines threats in mid Atlantic and else where which is why it needs serious blue water stuff like P8. Also with a limited budget bringing in an entirely new aircraft would end up in a net reduction of MPA aircraft.

Steve Taylor

Not a role? Or do you mean a role not currently undertaken? And what does the MCA have to FP? The IAC are acquiring these mostly for that role not just SAR. The UK is very lax in its policing of its EEZ and the lack of a military presence encourages all manner of ‘activities’. The French navy has about 20 Dassault Falcons for patrol work.

Peter E

Good to see Eire taking responsibility for their own area SAR to be honest. Our new P8s are going to be busy enough tacking Russian subs and supporting the Carriers, so its good to know these will be around Irish waters to contribute to multinational Search and Rescue.


Ah, we’ve been doing that for decades in case you didn’t notice. These are replacements for the 2 235’s that have been in service since 1994. We even cover NI when asked.

Mark B

Pleased to hear it.


Why do you call Ireland Eire?

Do you call Germany Deutschland? Or Spain España?


Could depend on the posters age, up until the Peace Process the UK officially didn’t recognise the term “Republic of Ireland” due to the claim on the North. Hence why they would use “Éire” or “Irish Republic” or variations of that. I remember seeing it on those Mail Order programs back in the early 90’s for example.

Or it’s just taking a shot at the Republic, particularly not using the Fada which means it’s not even the name of the nation.


This order has been well flagged, our 2 235 MPA’s are beyond worn out and their service rates have collapsed. We’re paying €220 million for the entire package and they will enter service around 2023.

Steve Taylor

In a way this is where our ‘foreign aid’ should be going. 2 is good, but 3 would be better. And it would be ‘nice’ if we could help Eire acquire an extra cab.


Ireland can pay for it’s own equipment thanks, there were rumours of a third being an option, but given the manpower issues and the usual hate from Finance and Defence towards the DF that didn’t happen.


After all the back and forth over the last couple of years I thought Ireland might finally take its own defensive responsibilities seriously, especially policing its own air space. They could easily arrange one of those lease deals with Saab for 6 Gripen’s so they do not rely on the RAF.


What back and forth?

As to policing the airspace, no political will to boost the budget enough to support that given the restrictions and demands from more “vote winning sectors”. Next up is the EPV which will likely be another €200 million.

Best hope right now is maybe in a couple of years enough capital budget is freed up to improve Radar coverage along the West Coast.


The back and forth between Boris and Leo over the border. Now that is put to bed I’m sure relations will improve. I was talking hypothetical if the UK stopped providing RAF coverage or Dublin decided they didn’t want it. If Ireland is not a member of nato they should be providing it them selves.


There wasn’t much between them, that was handled through the Commission and the Task Force.

As for the RAF coverage, honestly it wouldn’t make any difference to the situation if it was withdrawn anyway.


I would predict that the UK will eventually supplement the Poseidon with a maritime version of the Protector drone. General Atomics has already shown a “Sea Guardian” version. Half the price of the C295, 14 hour endurance, similar range and allows the Poseidons to focus on the higher end targets

Mark B

Sounds sensible.

Sceptical Richard

Good for observation. Not good for prosecution


I agree in terms of “hard targets”, such as warships or submarines; that is where the Poseidon comes in to its own. For “softer” targets (e.g. fast attack craft), a Protector armed with Brimstone (already being provisioned) or the Lightweight Multi-role Missile from the Wildcat, would make a formidable foe.

Sceptical Richard

True but the use of RPASs over land against specific asymmetric targets is very different to their use over the sea where their whole purpose would be enduring, persistent surveillance. In other words, maximising their natural advantage. That means reducing drag and weight (other than fuel) to the maximum. So no weapons. That’s how the US and now Australia intend to use their Tritons. Would make sense for U.K. to buy some Tritons eventually as well