Ruag Aviation is hopeful that Malaysia will order up to five new generation Dornier 228 New Generations for maritime patrol purposes, and is in talks about setting up an MRO partnership in Malaysia. A decision could even be announced at the Singapore Air Show. “We are about to set up a global services network,” says Alexander Mueller, managing director of Ruag. “We will have at least one located in Malaysia, and are also looking at other options. Possibly the southern Pacific.”
The company already has a presence in Malaysia covering the radar system for the F/A-18 radar – Ruag Malaysia. But Mueller says Ruag is looking at a number of options in the country. “We like to be close to our customer,” says Klaus-Peter Leinauer, VP sales & business development.
The possibility of Malaysia buying up to five Dornier 228 New Generations is one of the drivers behind the search. Mueller points to the relatively new design (dating back to the early eighties) of the original aircraft, particularly in areas such as the wing profile, and also points out that unlike some older designs, the 228 has FAR Part 23, making it safer to operate if case of engine failure, amongst other things. Mueller also says that the relatively small design of the aircraft is an advantage.
In Asia, there is already one Dornier 228 New Generation operating on commuter services in Japan, while the Bangladeshi coast guard recently ordered two units. The Bangladesh Navy has purchased two modern Dornier 228 New Generation turboprop aircraft from Ruag for maritime air patrol and rescue mission along the countries’ coastline. The two Dornier 228 New Generations are the first fixed wing aircraft to be purchased by the Bangladesh Navy for patrolling its coast line. Both aircraft are being equipped with special equipment for maritime air patrol operations. This includes radio and navigation aid and other selected systems as well as rescue equipment.“The cost-effectiveness and, despite its sophisticated technology, ease of use sealed the decision in favour of the Dornier 228 New Generation,” Mueller added. In addition to the two aircraft, the contract includes comprehensive pilot and aircraft maintenance training for the Navy ground crew on location. Delivery of both aircraft is scheduled for early summer 2013.
The Bangladeshi order adds to a customer list that includes Japan, Norway and Germany. There are around 150-180 older Do-228 versions flying around the world.