76. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the consideration that has been given by his Department to additional replacement and further modernisation of the Air Corps fleet. (Question 32390/15 asked on 23 Sep 2015)
Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and the Naval Service will be considered in the context of the lifetime of the recently published White Paper. The White Paper recognises that there are several new and or enhanced platforms to be procured.
In the context of the Air Corps fleet, this includes the replacement of the Cessna fleet with three larger aircraft suitably equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance tasks. The two CASA 235s Maritime Patrol Aircraft are due for replacement in 2019. The CASA’s will be replaced with consideration of their replacement with larger more capable aircraft to enhance maritime surveillance and to provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo carrying tasks. The existing Pilatus PC9 aircraft are not due for replacement until 2025.
The current EC 135 and AW 139 helicopter fleet in the Air Corps will continue to deliver the required Defence Forces support and other support capabilities over the lifetime of the White Paper.