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A New Diamond monitors fire, floods and more

Diamond Aircraft DA62MPP Vanguard carries a new multiband sensor for environmental surveillance

By Chris Pocock Defense Correspondent, AIN online

Paris Air Show 2023 Coverage. Original article posted HERE

A new version of the Diamond Aircraft DA62 Multi-Purpose Platform (MPP) is on display at Diamond's Paris Airshow static park. Named the Vanguard, the aircraft serves environmental surveillance missions and is the first multi-mission sensor version of the popular twin-diesel-engine four- to seven-seater. Applications include automated fire mapping, vegetation analyses, flood and oil spill mapping, and wildlife monitoring.

The Vanguard carries a new five-band wide-area sensor from Overwatch Imaging designated TK-8 in a small pod under the fuselage. It employs artificial intelligence (AI) including change-detection algorithms to help the sensor operator locate small objects of interest within large search areas. A more conventional EO/IR sensor, the Trakka Systems TC-300, sits under the nose.

The airplane also carries the Artemis cellular phone detection, location, and communication sensor produced by British company Smith Myers. As with previous DA62MPP versions, the sensor data can transmit to the ground by the satcom pod, which offers Ka-, Ku-, L- and X-band frequencies.

Speaking at the Multi-Mission Expo at Sywell airfield in the UK recently, Diamond marketing manager Mario Spiegel said that the MPP versions of the DA62 feature the same performance as the standard aircraft, albeit with four rather than seven seats. Another difference, a top-mounted exhaust system for the AE330 turbocharged diesel engines, avoids degrading the sensor fields-of-view. Made by Diamond sister company Austro Engine, the AE330 runs on jet-A fuel. A field test of biofuel is underway in the UK.

“The DA62MPP is a cost-effective solution for special missions, with an operating cost of only €250 ($274) per hour,” said Spiegel. “We integrate and certify all the sensors ourselves, and there is a dedicated alternator that provides their power.”

British specialist air services company 2Excel is a new customer for the DA62. It plans to introduce two for search and rescue missions in the English Channel, mostly targeting illegal immigrants crossing from France, plus a third for survey work. The aircraft will carry the new Trakka TC-375 sensor. Another British company, Flight Calibration Services, has pioneered the use of the DA62 for the calibration of navigation aids.

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