Challenger 604 maritime patrol aircraft

The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) is reportedly planning to start a mid-life upgrade (MLU) of its Bombardier CL-604 Challenger maritime patrol aircraft fleet by 2018.

Under the MLU project, the four Danish Challenger 604s will be outfitted with a new downlink, a multirole radar capable of performing surface surveillance, weather monitoring and oil slick detection, as well as a new cockpit to the Challenger 605 standard, as reported by Flightglobal.

The aircraft are currently integrated with satellite communications, radios, the Telephonics OceanEye APS-143 maritime surveillance radar, an automatic identification system and a Star Safire electro-optical/infrared sensor.

"We have found ourselves in a situation in which we didn’t have the radar we needed."

In addition, the RDAF acquired a side-looking aperture radar to monitor oil slicks following failure of the OceanEye radar to execute the mission.

Speaking to the publication at the SMi ISR conference in London, UK, Defence Command Denmark airstaff major Jacob Bos said: "We have found ourselves in a situation in which we didn’t have the radar we needed.

"The surveillance radar isn’t reliable enough, nor is the FLIR, and our consoles don’t support flexibility, so we are looking at this mid-life upgrade for the Challenger."

The Danish Defence Ministry is believed to be holding final talks to decide funding for the project and also to discuss how the upgrade will manifest.

According to the publication, Denmark has requested information from Bombardier Aerospace, but information about whether the company may lead the upgrade project remains unclear.

Three of the four 604s are currently operated by RDAF’s Air Transport Wing Aalborg based at Aalborg Air Base near Vadum, for maritime patrol missions, while the fourth jet is used for VIP transport, as reported by Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database.

Image: A Royal Danish Air Force Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft at the 2010 Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, UK. Photo: courtesy of Arpingstone via Wikipedia.