Bombardier Defense: Building the next-gen military airborne solution

Promoted by Bombardier Defense | April 30, 2024

A generic rendering of a missionized Bombardier Global 6500, used by the U.S. Army in its latest program for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)

Meeting the operational challenges of today’s strategic environment is no easy task. Bombardier has tackled head-on 21st-century arising military imperatives with versatile, agile, proven jets that are modified and equipped to be the next-generation military solution.

Since 1942, Bombardier has helped define how the world moves with pioneering state-of-the-art transportation solutions. Bombardier is known internationally for the reliability, performance, and design of its Challenger and Global aircraft families, transporting industry leaders, heads of state, and some of the world’s most influential and high-profile individuals. With innovation in the DNA of this Canadian multinational and a fleet of high-performance jets, Bombardier uses the same customer-focused principles and proven capabilities to offer tailored solutions for governments, military, and other special mission operators around the world.

Leveraging experience with more than 500 specialised Bombardier aircraft already in service worldwide and an operational track record of more than 3 million fleet hours, Bombardier Defense was created to transform their aircraft for critical and specialised missions. Leveraging its uniquely flexible and highly collaborative approach, Bombardier has become the go-to provider of solutions for the most demanding missions worldwide.

Ranging from urgent humanitarian assistance and head-of-state transport to securing airspace, borders, and infrastructure, Bombardier’s catalogue of platforms has been adapted for over a dozen (and counting) mission types. Bombardier currently supports more than 160 operators in over 50 countries, including Australia.

Adapting to the contested security environment

With the ever-evolving reality of the security environment, there is rising pressure on armed forces to enhance aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Technological advances have resulted in systems that require less physical footprint and fewer operators than prior generations of missioned aircraft. By capitalising on these advances, systems can be hosted on platforms that operate at higher altitudes and longer ranges than legacy aircraft.

Combined with the ability to fly faster than legacy wide-bodied and missionised commercial aircraft, these next-generation platforms offer increased operational flexibility and can be deployed to new theatres around the globe in a single flight. This is an important step towards a new generation of technology that increases standard ranges and deep sensing.

There has been a clear shift in defence procurement needs worldwide, and militaries worldwide have been incorporating modern jets into operations more than ever. These platforms are being used more frequently to address airborne communications needs, deep sensing and intelligence data collecting. Bombardier’s Global family of aircraft has been a favourite to equip with specialised capabilities by the biggest defence integrators in the world.

The fixed-wing platforms offered by Bombardier Defense can be repositioned around the globe far quicker than turboprop aircraft and retain a high degree of modular reconfigurability. This allows for greater flexibility in ISR capabilities and provides increased range and endurance at higher altitudes. Another advantage is fleet commonality – simplifying logistics support, training, and access to reusable or commonly specialised engineering solutions for capability upgrades. Bombardier Defense is focused on enabling these benefits for a wide variety of users.

HADES: Flying further and seeing farther

The U.S. Army has recognised the tactical benefits that high-performance aircraft can provide for deep sensing and recently announced that it has contracted Bombardier as the platform of choice for its High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System (HADES) project. Bombardier will be delivering the Global 6500 for this ISR modernisation program.

A generic rendering of a Bombardier Global 7500 fitted for Medical Evacuation mission.

HADES will enhance deep sensing capabilities by deploying airborne platforms that bring an increased range, speed, and endurance combined with integrated and advanced payloads to increase ISR depth, allowing the U.S. Army to compete with and neutralise adversaries in increasingly complex environments. U.S. military officials have emphasised that the HADES program will develop a next-generation fleet that can “overcome the physical challenges encountered by legacy airborne ISR aircraft, without sacrificing the unique quality and capability of collection that airborne ISR provides to Army and joint force commanders around the world.”

Recently, Australia has signalled an intention to enhance its ISR capabilities. The Royal Australian Air Force has announced that it will receive approximately $65 billion to develop air capabilities, with a significant emphasis on the acquisition of both crewed and uncrewed ISR aircraft. In due course of action, Australia will evaluate synergies with the U.S. Army program to ensure commonality and interoperability under the AUKUS treaty.

Deep sensing in the global context

While deep sensing capabilities can be deployed across different geographies in strategically significant locations around the world to help the militaries achieve their objectives, they are particularly significant in the Indo-Pacific to detect and deter malign behaviour by state and non-state actors. In this theatre, deep sensing capabilities also advance goals like protecting freedom of navigation and combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

A generic rendering of a missionised Bombardier Challenger 350

Bombardier has had a significant presence in Australia for the past decade, with a strong fleet of medical evacuation (medevac) and search and rescue aircraft in service across the country. In May, a significant turning point for the company was celebrated with the opening of the first-ever dedicated Defense office outside of North America. Located in Adelaide, this new office will provide its customers with access to an exceptional support team capable of providing key information about Bombardier’s ability to incorporate tailored modifications and comprehensive integration solutions across the full spectrum of civilian, military and hybrid operations.

For decades, Bombardier has provided industry-leading, curated solutions for the most demanding missions of governments and military contractors worldwide – this new office is another milestone strengthening Bombardier’s position as a global aviation leader.

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