Dornier Do-228

Type: Multi-role military turboprop twin engine aircraft.

Design Features: The Do-228 has been protected against major corrosion damage and has a radome beneath the fuselage. Pilot and co-pilot have full dual controls and instruments, with the co-pilot operating the optional searchlight. Two bubble observatory windows in front of the cabin offer a 180º view and the photography window on port side can be opened in flight. It has a console for radar, digital navigation display and intercom controls. Standard equipment includes internal and external lighting, hand held fire extinguisher, gust control locks and tie-down kit. Two seven-man life rafts are provided for SAR missions. A rest area is placed on the starboard side of the rear cabin and has an optional folding table, a galley or refrigerator and a toilet.

Avionics: The Do-228s are fitted with a MEL Super Marec search radar, which is used for maritime surveillance. A Micronair pollution prevention system is used for pollution detection and control. The system provides the means to spray a dispersal agent over the designated surface. VHF communication, a transponder, audio selector & intercom systems are fitted. The IFR instrumentation has dual gyro horizons, dual HSIs, ADIs, VSIs and dual altimeters. Additional options include a Spectrolab SX-16P searchlight, Primus 500 color weather radar, GEC Macroni's Electro Optics Multi-Sensor Turret System, Sextant's Totem-3000 internal navigation/global positioning system, the IFF 400AM system and an annotating camera.

One aircraft, IN 231, has been re-fitted with the Israeli Elta EL/M-2022A (V3) airborne maritime surveillance radar and the Indian Navy has placed a contract for the radar system to be fitted to the other Dornier aircraft. Alan Warnes {Air Forces Monthly fame} reports that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) have integrated IN 231 into a full day and night imagery gathering concept with a down link to the ground station's intelligence system. The system comprises an Airborne Multi-Mission Optronic Stabilised Payload (AMOSP) on the fuselage in the forward starboard side fairing of the main landing gear. It houses three optical apertures - the larger one is a low light Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera, a second one is an IR camera and the third is for possible fitment of a Laser Range Finder.

The AMOSP can view targets of up to a range of 25 miles (40 km). Four personnel work in the rear - a Mission Commander, Observer Station Operator for the AMOSP system and two radar system operators. In the cockpit, the pilot has the capability to view the same pictures as the Observer Station on a multi-function display on his instrument panel. The Mission Commander can down-link data to a Ground Data Link Receiver in real time, which would allow the Navy or Coast Guard to take appropriate action. The range of the data link is 100n miles (a little limiting on some maritime patrol missions), and being un-pressurised could be a disadvantage if the aircraft is working against an enemy with surface-to-air missiles and has to stay above 15,000 feet (4572 metres).

Engine: Two AlliedSignal TPE331-5-252D engines rated at 578.7 kW (776 shp). Each engine has a four blade, constant speed, fully feathering, reversible pitch, metal propeller.

Maximum Speed: 255 knots (472 km/h; 293 mph)

Service Ceiling: 28,000 ft. (8535 meters)

Maximum Range: 1320 nautical miles (2445 km; 1519 miles)

Armament: Two inboard and two outboard pylons can carry an array of external stores, including gun pods, rockets, short-range anti-ship missiles and even SAR pods. The IN Dorniers reportedly carry AShMs of an unspecified type.

Maximum External Stores Load: 2201 kg. (4852 lb.)

Self Defence: A media report, dated 05 May 2007, stated that EAGLE Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems have been fitted on-board and eight more systems have been ordered. The system is an indigenous development by the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL).

Comments: Purchased from Germany principally to be used as a light transport aircraft in the IAF, they are used in a variety of roles such as maritime patrol, search & rescue and reconnaissance in the Navy and in the Coast Guard. The latter operates 24 examples of the type. The Do-228s complement the Tu-142 and the Il-38, in the maritime surveillance role, and are used to patrol coastal areas as well. No.310 Cobras Squadron was re-commissioned, with six Do-228 aircraft, in the IW (Information Warfare) role. The squadron is based at INS Hansa at Dabolim, Goa and is used in the ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) role.

A press release from the MoD, dated 17 August 2005, stated that the Indian Navy acquired ten Do-228 aircraft from November 1998 to December 1999, for a cost of Rs 388.30 crore. HAL has received a $72 million order for seven license-built Do-228-101 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from the Coast Guard. They are likely to be supplemented by an additional 12 aircraft, in the follow-on five-year plan period after 2007. Deliveries were expected to commence in 2001 and was expected to take two years to complete. To date, there have been no confirmed reports from the Indian Coast Guard or HAL indicating that deliveries have taken place.

In March 2005, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the induction of eleven Do-228-101 aircraft. Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee stated that the purchase of these aircraft along with spares, engines, ground support equipment and operational role equipment would cost Rs 726 crore including a foreign exchange component of Rs 431.65 crore. He also mentioned that these aircraft will be used for maritime surveillance. It is not known whether these eleven aircraft will go to the Navy or the Coast Guard, as both conduct the duties of maritime surveillance.

Image © Kapil ChandniImage © Kapil ChandniIN-226 lies parked at INS Dega (Vizag, Andhra Pradesh). The 'COC' on the tail indicates that this aircraft belongs to the No 550 'Flying Fish' Squadron based in Cochin, Kerala. Image © Simon WatsonImage © Mrityunjoy MazumdarThe Dornier Do-228s of CGAS 750, shown here, regularly patrol the sensitive maritime boundary areas of Gujarat (neighbouring Pakistan) and the offshore oil areas of Bombay High. Image © Indian Coast GuardThe Dornier Do-228 can also carry a pair of gun pods fitted under its wings. Image © Indian Coast GuardCG 752 ready for a PR sortie, spray pods are fitted under the wings. Image © Indian Coast GuardThe Daman air station is home to the first Dornier squadron CGAS 750 of the Coast Guard. Here a line up of Do-228s lie ready on the tarmac. Image © Indian Coast GuardA Do-228 being dispatched for an air task from Daman. Image © Indian Coast GuardThe first upgraded Do-228 [IN 231] for the Indian Navy takes to the air, showing its AMOSP (Airborne Multi-Mission Optronic Stabilised Payload) on its belly. Image © Alan Warnes, Air Forces Monthly