The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has placed an order for 24 Calidus B-250 light attack aircraft – becoming the aerospace company's first customer for the type.
The contract, worth roughly $260m (AED 2.273bn), was signed on November 20, at the Dubai Airshow. It marks the first time the UAE has purchased a domestically produced aircraft in either military or civil fields of aviation.
The B-250 was designed and produced to conduct close air support (CAS), combat training, counter-insurgency (COIN)/counter-terrorism and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Calidus boasts that the B-250 has a cruising speed of 402mph (648.2km/h), a maximum range of 2,400nm (2,762 miles, 4,445km) and an operational endurance of up to 12 hours. It also adds that the platform is cost effective, with each flight hour priced around $1,200. The twin-seat aircraft is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-68 turboprop. Its all-carbon-fibre airframe designed by Novaer makes it light and manoeuvrable.
The UAE military has been very active at the Dubai Airshow 2019, announcing its intentions to acquire two more Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and three additional Airbus A330 MRTT tanker-transport aircraft. However, the B-250 order with Calidus is the only firm order to have been placed by the UAE military.