Airbus has been evaluating new applications for its A320neo twin-engine jet airliner as a ‘highly-capable and cost-effective’ military platform.
The company intends to use the commercial aircraft as a military transport platform and to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Designated A320M3A, the new military variant would be specifically designed to conduct a wide range of ISR operations such as maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare.
The aircraft can be equipped with modular roll-on / roll-off payloads to carry out several airlift missions, including carrying passengers and troops, medical evacuation (medevac), and cargo transport.
The larger host platform of Airbus’ A320M3A model features increased electrical power and improved cooling systems compared with the previously used command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) aircraft.
Based on the company’s A320 airliner family in high-rate production, the new A320neo variant will benefit from being a low-risk aircraft solution.
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The aircraft is built on the company’s capabilities in manufacturing military derivatives of its commercial aircraft such as the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which is currently in use with military services worldwide.
The new engine option version of Airbus’ A320 commercial jetliner offers several advantages such as long range and endurance, the lowest operational and lifecycle costs in its class, and an extensive capability for growth in a fuselage cross-section that is wider than its competitor in the same size category.