A consortium including L3 Communications and Selex is offering the UK an MPA Solution based on the Bombardier Q400. The aircraft will include extra fuel tanks to enhance range and external blisters for weapons and sonar buoys.
The Q400 is an option I don’t think we have looked at in detail. The consortium quote the solution providing 80% of the capability of the P8 at 1/3rd the cost. I’m Guessing the 80% of the P8 capability refers to the range of the aircraft with the auxiliary fuel tanks. Other articles mention a 10 hour endurance time with the extra tanks.
Perhaps the most interesting point is the indication that after incidents such as MH370 and the recent search for a missing British yacht in the Atlantic the MOD has stepped up the hunt for an MPA solution and will put it down as it’s number one priority in SDSR 2015.
The Q400 seems like an interesting solution but is it too ugly for RAF service?