Vietnam – a nation with a long coastline -- has become the latest country to enter the maritime air patrol business with its order for twelve Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze-Mielec (PZL) M-28 Skytrucks and has already received the first two aircraft. Vietnam thus joins Djibouti, Indonesia, Venezuela, Nepal, Poland, and Nepal in using these aircraft for patrol. India is also reported to be interested in manufacturing and selling the An-28 in Asia and may be considering adding it to its defense inventory.
Most of the Vietnamese Skytrucks are being equipped with a Polish-made maritime radar with a reported detection range of nearly 100 miles. A modernized derivative of the 1960s era Russian An-28 (NATO code-name “Cash”), the dumpster-like aircraft powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A, 1,100 HP turboprops, has a leisurely 160 mph cruise and a five hour endurance. The aircraft has a 4,400 pound payload and can operate from very short (less than 2,000 feet long), unimproved runways.
A special MPA derivative -- the M28B “Bryza”-1R BIS Maritime Patrol, Reconnaissance, and ASW aircraft -- may be ordered equipped with a Thermal Imaging System ( FLIR), communication system, ARS-800 Sea-Surface SAR/ISAR Surveillance Radar, sonobouy launcher with associated HYD-10 hydro-acoustic detection system HYD-10, Chelton Direction Finder System, LS10M/LINK 11 Automatic Data Transmission System. PZL is marketing the aircraft for support of sea and land border patrolling, SAR, immigration control, surveillance & protection of the national economic sea zone, and ASW. The plane carries a six man crew (two pilots, a flight engineer, and three systems operators). With a maximum ceiling of just 18,000 feet and an operational range of 740 miles, the M-28 is well-suited for coastal patrol along the coasts of smaller nations.
The last of the M-28s is to be delivered to Vietnam by the end of 2007. PZL believes there is a market for as many as 200 M-28/B aircraft in Southeast Asia.