Calidus Reveals Scaled-Up Counter-Insurgency Aircraft

Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

DUBAI—Emirati aircraft manufacturer Calidus has lifted the lid on a radically scaled up development of its B-250 turboprop counter-insurgency aircraft.

Despite repeated requests, Calidus has yet to reveal any details about its proposed B-350 platform, which appears in mock-up form in the Dubai Airshow static display.

What little is known about the B-350 comes from an article in a Czech publication about landing gear manufacturer Charvat AXL that suggests the aircraft will have a maximum take-off weight of nine metric tons, a wingspan of 16 m (52 ft.) and will use a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127 turboprop engine, best known for powering the ATR family of regional airliners. The engine will drive a six-bladed propeller.

Like its B-250 brethren, the B-350 appears to be designed for long-endurance counter-insurgency missions.

The aircraft is displayed with a range of UAE-developed guided bombs and rocket pods including Edge’s Al-Tariq bomb kits, as well as an under fuselage electro-optical sensor.

Calidus also is proposing its B-250 platform as an advanced turboprop trainer called the B-250T. Company literature states that the B-250T features a mission-recording and debriefing system, while options to enable what the company calls an “Advanced Trainer” configuration would enable operators to simulate radar, sensors and weapons functions to prepare new pilots for the front line.

It also states the aircraft would be equipped with a Martin-Baker Mk.16 ejection seat.

Development of a trainer version would put the aircraft into competition with types such as the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, the Turkish Aerospace Hurkus and the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 Woong-bi.

At the last edition of Dubai Airshow, Calidus was contracted by the UAE defense ministry to supply 20 B-250s to the UAE military.

The B-250 design originated in Brazil, where startup Novaer built the first two prototype aircraft in 2017. A now-dissolved joint venture with Calidus financed the first two aircraft, then shipped prototypes to the UAE in 2017 for the aircraft’s public debut at the Dubai Airshow that year. The company previously said it would build the aircraft at a facility in Al Ain.

Tony Osborne

Based in London, Tony covers European defense programs. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2012, Tony was at Shephard Media Group where he was deputy editor for Rotorhub and Defence Helicopter magazines.