The Irish Government has reportedly put down a deposit for a new medium transport aircraft for the Irish Air Corps, which will be used to carry troops and vehicles on foreign military missions and rescue Irish citizens in need.

The deposit was paid on December 23 by the Irish Department of Defence, and the final cost is expected to be around €50 million.

The original contract was for two replacement Casa maritime patrol planes for the Air Corps, which are set to arrive soon and will be used for patrolling the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone and monitoring fishing and other ship movements. The Irish Air Corps had also been evaluating the purchase of additional C-295 planes for general transport duties as of June 2022.

According to Thejournal.ie, the decision to fast-track the tendering process with an amendment followed discussions about the need to make progress on one of the key recommendations from the Commission on the Defence Forces.

A source stated that the decision to go with the Casa 295 cargo variant means that Air Corps pilots will not need extensive training to “convert” their qualifications for flying the aircraft.

The final decision was reportedly made under the new Minister for Defence, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, and the government is said to have been eager to finalise the procurement before the end of 2022, with an amendment made to an existing tender with Airbus. The issue of Ireland’s lack of large military transport planes was brought to light following the mission to rescue Irish citizens in Kabul in 2021.

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Lucy Wright is a professional in the publishing industry, with a passion for news reporting. She has dedicated her career to staying informed and sharing important stories with others.
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Mark
Mark
10 months ago

Not surprising that the decision was for a 295, it was pretty well flagged already and the DOD have been dancing around the topic since 2000, and there’s been several attempts at buying second hand 295s already. It has its limitations of course but trying to introduce anything larger/different for just one plane wouldn’t have mad huge sense given the ACs state.

I doubt either of the 235s will be kept in service to provide something until this purchase comes online given their state.

Deep32
Deep32
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Small steps Mark, small steps, going in the right direction.

Mark
Mark
10 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that it’s happening.

Mickey
Mickey
10 months ago

Good news and great step in the right direction .

Angus
Angus
10 months ago

God sized aircraft that will be easy for them to take on. The UK could do with a handful this size too as the A400 will be way to big for many required trips to support needs. Pity the RAF still ditching the C130J’s now it will not for the foreseeable increase the A400 fleet.

AlexS
AlexS
10 months ago
Reply to  Angus

C-295 are not a military aircraft in a sense of a C-130. They need good runways.

The smaller equivalent of C-130 is C-27J.

Steve M
Steve M
10 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Performance wise the 2 are very similar the only advantage c-27 has is it will take 108×88 the same size as c-130 where the c-295 isn’t as high but it carries 5 to 3 so actually more volume, it has better range/STOL. USAF bought c-27 and then mohballed them due to issues then gav to USCG. think 295 would be good for UK/NW Europe small scheduled flights let the A400’s concentrate on tactical/para long range medium loads.

AlexS
AlexS
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

Incorrect. USAF did not bought any C-27. US Army did, they there was a nasty turf war concerning who controlled fixed wing aircraft and USAF sort of win it also in context of exiting Afghanistan and other trade offs like Army being able to get missiles with longer range than ATACMS. USAF don’t like tactical stuff so they “sold” it to USCG, Australians and SOCOM. C-295 do not have better range and STOL where you got that? C-295 is not even claimed as STOL. At 640m take off MTOW C-27J almost can. Ask the Canadians and the issues they have… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
10 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Bas ic comparison between the 2 , https://flaps-aviacion-aviation-luftfahrt.blogspot.com/2012/01/comparing-airbus-c295-vs-alenania-c-27j.html c-295 has 670m with range of over 2000Nm with 6T payload C-27 has 640m with range of 1200Nm according to RAAF page, wiki say 2700Nm with 4,5 T payload So as i said very similar from the C-27 wiki page In 2007, the C-27J was selected as the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) for the United States military; 78 bought 54 US Army and 24 for USAF. In 2012, the United States Air Force (USAF) elected to retire the C-27J after only a short service life due to budget cuts; they were later… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
10 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

the US bought 78 C-27 (54 Army / 24 USAF) USAF retired after couple years and gave 12 to USCG and some to USSOCM.
c-295 has 670M TO at MTOW of 21t, range over 2kNm with 6t payload, max payload 9T
c-27 has 640M TO at MTOW, range 2.5kNm with 4.5t Payload, max payload 11T
so as said very similar.

Monty
Monty
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

Only 21 were delivered. 7 went to the US Army, 14 to the US Coast Guard.

AlexS
AlexS
10 months ago
Reply to  Monty

I don’t think those are the correct numbers since 10 were sold to Australia from US stocks. From the “The Saga of the Spartans” airandspaceforces.com In August 2011, USAF followed up the Iraq experiment with an actual deployment of two C-27Js, flown and maintained by Air Guard crews, to Kandahar AB, Afghanistan. For 11 months, the two airplanes—flown first by the 179th Airlift Wing and then by the 175th AW—racked up 3,200 missions, moving over 1,400 tons of cargo, and more than 25,000 passengers. Guard crews reported being favorably impressed with the airplane. Immediate Questions Even before they deployed, though,… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

From manufacturers brochures: C-295 Range 5000km 3000kg payload Conditions not defined. Take-off run: 670 m Sea level, ISA C-27J Range 5056km 4536kg payload MTOW, ISA. Take off run 690m MTOW ISA SL. C-27J flies higher and has cruise speed of 602kph vs 480kph of C-295 The cargo length in C-295 is longer but the cross section C-27J 3.3×2.6 is much bigger than the C-295 making possible to have bigger vehicles artillery prices and palettes. While no usual argument for transport it has 3G vs 2.5G which with more speed and faster rate of climb and descent means a much more safer operation… Read more »

Angus
Angus
10 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Did one say anything about tactical use and they can get into some now so sweet strips too. Those big expensive units seldom get their feet dirty and require good strip when hauling large loads too. The C295 would support the UK Mil better as even the C130 has been used to move a couple of boxes for a detachment or supporting other services. The RN used the Jetstream T3 as a light transport and often saved much time and cost when compared to requesting the RAF to support such. Light transport can offer a lot a fraction of operating… Read more »

HF
HF
10 months ago
Reply to  Angus

God sized aircraft ! Should only need one then !

Mark
Mark
10 months ago

Also to note it really wasn’t Kabul as such that brought the issue to light, it’s more that it (along with many other events last year) meant the government couldn’t hide from the limitations the DOD had created. The 235s and the Government Jets have been covering the gap for decades as best they could.

Mickey
Mickey
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Is it two transports they put a deposit on or one? The gov was looking for two for the past year according to various articles.

Mark
Mark
10 months ago
Reply to  Mickey

Seems to be just one new build, the reports referencing two were in relation to the 2 UN Food Program planes that are on offer that have been looked at a few times. Could have been that if they had went second hand the other might have been a spares bin for the operational one, whereas a new build will likely have the same through life support package that the 2 MPA variants come with?

Mickey
Mickey
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Ahh. Two would have been nice . Progress still for the AC.

Mark
Mark
10 months ago
Reply to  Mickey

The next question is whether we will see two more 139’s bought given the recommendations from the Commission and the wear the 6 are getting from the air ambulance and fire fighting operations.

The Gardai are getting their own helicopter for the ERU and Coillte have put out a tender for contract helicopters as well so that might ease some of the operations.

Mickey
Mickey
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark

I am sure there will be more 139s. They are great machines. Expanding the defence force as outlined in the LOA means the capacity to move all those additional personnel requires more equipment.

A Chinook or two would be quite valuable additions to the AC. Not to mention a couple of ASW helos.

Air forces around the world are pulling extra duty with their helos too as you mentioned. Fire fighting especially.

Angus
Angus
10 months ago
Reply to  Mickey

Why would the IAC require ASW helo’s when the fleet have none onboard their OPV’s? They need additional support units so another 2+ 139’s a type already in service would be a + and let the Medical Services get a couple of like type to support that need whilst the IAN can get on with supporting the bigger aim now being voiced by Ireland.

Mickey
Mickey
10 months ago
Reply to  Angus

The ASWs could be land based.

No dispute here on additional support equipment anywhere for the service(s)

Angus
Angus
10 months ago
Reply to  Mickey

I did not mean ship based, they do not have any ASW equipment on any Ship it’s not in their tasking. An additional C295 patrol aircraft would be a better asset thus giving better cover over their area of responsibility. At least they are getting something to help out in their needs.

Mickey
Mickey
10 months ago
Reply to  Angus

100 % agree.

Mark
Mark
10 months ago
Reply to  Angus

How we ended up with the hulls we did is a long story, with plenty of issues, the P60s are meant to get some sort of hull mounted sonar refit in the next couple of years and might be able to be modified with a containerised towed array for some improvement (though of course how useful that would be is another question), though of course can’t support a helicopter. The P50s are ageing quicker than expected from results of their midlife refit and likely will need a replacement program within a decade, some in the Navy leadership are already pushing… Read more »