Canadian American Strategic Review


Replacing the



In Detail

DND 101

Background  —  Aurora Alternatives  —  Bombardier  Global Express

Update: Boeing chose the Bombardier Challenger as the 'mid-sized business jet' platform for its new Maritime Surveillance Aircraft. There remains the decision on a 'super mid-sized business jet' platform, suggesting the possibility of  Global Express fitted with  P-8A Poseidon sensors. In Sept 2013, Raytheon pitched a Sentinel R1 software change which would allow the RAF to shift roles from ground- to maritime surveillance filling a current capability gap. In its maritime surveillance role, the Sentinel would not be armed or have any ASW capability.

Global Express  Maritime Patrol  – Another  Multi-Mission  Derivative from Bombardier
Reports have emerged  that some Air Force brass favour a plan to fit  both sensors and  mission systems controls from the curtailed Aurora modernization to Bombardier's mid-sized Global Express biz jet airframe.  In engineering terms, this is easier than it sounds. The new sensors and computers are already integrated as part of  AIMP Block III. This would be repeating the Aurora model of putting already-integrated systems into a proven airframe. While a Global Express maritime patrol derivative does not yet exist, a military variant does – the Raytheon R1 Sentinel.

R1 Sentinels, like civilian Global Express jets, will operate at  high altitudes – a dramatically different environment from the Aurora. Questions arose as to whether Global Express airframes could handle patrols down-in-the-weather. There's a precedent. The Brazilian rival of Global Express, the Embraer ERJ 145 has a maritime patrol derivative – the P-99 (right) –  which has been flown (and exported). [1]

  Bombardier Global Express Maritime Patrol –  Specifications
  Dimensions:   span: 28.6m, length: 30.3m, height: 7.57m [2]
  Powerplant:   2 x 65.5kN (14,750 lbst) RR BR710 turbofans
  max speed: 950 km/h,  max cruise: 904 km/h,
  operating altitude: 15,000m (50,000 feet)
  Weights:   empty weight: 22,817kg, MTOW: 43,094kg
  Maximum range:   12,000km  (6500 nm), endurance: 14+ hours
  Crew:   2 x flightcrew, systems operators (unknown)

It may sound like Bombardier is moving into an established market where a rival, in the form of  the P-99, has the jump on Global Express. And that is partly true. But Global Express is rather larger than Embraer's ERJ 145 series, [3]  providing Bombardier with a potential competitive edge when trying to fit mission systems into  the comparatively small  fuselages.

The P-99 may provide a conceptual analogy but not a model for a Global Express maritime patrol derivative. Bombardier must  demonstrate that a  Global Express airframe can accommodate search  radar  radomes and the other  excrescences of a dedicated  maritime patrol without an excessive cost in drag.  A similar approach was taken in developing the Sentinel when the proto- type Global Express flight-tested the layout (right). If the maritime patrol derivative goes as smoothly as the Sentinel surveillance type, combining the proven Global Express airframe with the integrated  CP-140 sensors should be a simple task.

[1] The Embraer P-99 launch customer was Mexico which ordered two of the maritime patrol aircraft, taking advantage of commonality with its R-99A Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft. Brazil and Greece also operate the ERJ 145-based Embraer R-99A/B AEW&C aircraft.
[2] By comparison, the P-99's cabin measures 16.49m long, 2.10m wide, and 1.83m high in an already-stretched airframe  (with two 'plugs').
[3] Overall measurements are above.  Cabin volumes should also be considered  –  27.4m3  for the P-99  vs  60.6m3  for the Global Express.