June 1, 2012:
The Royal Air Force of Oman has bought eight C295 transport aircraft from Spain. This twin engine turboprop, 23 ton aircraft can carry six tons for up to 2,200 kilometers. Top speed is 570 kilometers an hour and max payload is nine tons or 71 troops.
Oman is using five of its C295 as transports, with the other three equipped as maritime patrol aircraft. This means a surface search radar will be installed, along with electronic monitoring equipment and communications gear that enables information to be exchanged more quickly. The patrol version of the C295 can stay in the air for 11 hours per sortie.
Twin engine turboprop transports are increasingly popular with military organizations. They are cheaper to buy and operate than four engine models and are adequate for most countries. Four engine turboprop transports like the C-130 are still popular but increasingly expensive. With this Oman order, 108 C295s have been ordered. So far, 85 have been built since the C295 entered service eleven years ago. In addition to Oman, 14 other nations use the aircraft.