Boeing’s Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) demonstrator recently completed its first flight to verify airworthiness, an important milestone toward providing a low-risk and cost-effective maritime surveillance solution designed for search and rescue, anti-piracy patrols and coastal and border security.
Boeing teammate Field Aviation conducted the successful testing during a four-hour flight on Feb. 28 from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Field Aviation modified the Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft’s structures and systems into the MSA configuration.
“We accomplished everything we set out to achieve,” Field Aviation pilot, Craig Tylski, said. “The aerodynamic performance was right on the money and even with the additional aerodynamic shapes, such as the radome, the demonstrator performed like a normal aircraft. The control and handling were excellent.”
Additional airworthiness flights are scheduled for the next two months. Once they are complete, the aircraft will fly to a Boeing facility in Seattle where the MSA mission systems will be installed and tested.
MSA uses proven technologies developed for Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon program to provide multi-mission surveillance capabilities. The baseline configuration features an active electronically scanned array multi-mode radar, an electro/optical/infrared sensor, electronic support measures, a communications intelligence sensor and an automated identification system.
Boeing achieved first flight of the MSA demonstrator on an accelerated schedule due to rapid prototyping and lean manufacturing techniques by Boeing Phantom Works, the company’s advanced technology organization, working closely with industry teammates.
Boeing has selected the Challenger 605 business jet as the MSA platform and will leverage Field Aviation’s engineering and modification experience with the Challenger family of aircraft to modify the jet.