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BN2T-4S Defender 4000 Multi-Sensor Surveillance Aircraft (MSSA)

The Pilatus Britten-Norman multi-sensor surveillance aircraft (MSSA) offers a Westinghouse APG-66R multi-mode radar in the nose of a Britten-Norman Defender 4000 airframe. Pilatus and Westinghouse are marketing MSSA internationally. Low acquisition and operating costs make the Defender a natural choice for maritime surveillance, border patrol and electronic intelligence applications. The compact nature of modern electronics enables the Defender to accommodate highly capable mission suites which previously required much larger aircraft. Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group based its jointly developed and Multi-Sensor Surveillance Aircraft (MSSA) on the BN2T Defender. In 1989 Baltimore-based Westinghouse selected the BN2T Defender as a platform for the powerful Westinghouse multi-mode radar originally developed for the F-16. The BN2T Islander - a successor to the piston-engined Defender first introduced in 1971 - was launched in 1981 to meet the demand for increased payload and performance. The turbine engines, flat rated to 320 shp, boost climb rate, increase ceiling and cruise speed and give greater payload.

The Defender 4000 was launched at the Farnborough International Air Show in 1994. Designed to meet the most demanding surveillance requirements Defender 4000 maintains the traditional benefits of low operating costs and durability. Design evolution includes an extended fuselage giving increased cabin space, nose cone to accommodate a 360" rotating antenna, larger wing and an enhanced visibility cockpit. The new aircraft's payload is double that of the standard Islander/Defender, and it features a 30in longer cabin. The 4ft extended span of the "wet wing" enables Defender 4000 to fly up to eight hours or 1000 miles between refuellings. The aircraft is designed for prolonged operation at low level in all weather. Despite higher performance conferred by an extra 200 installed horsepower, the slow flying and turning capabilities of the basic Islander/Defender, important for direct observation, are not compromised. Defender 4000 can loiter at around 80-100 kts and stalling speed is 50 kts.


Country of Origin UK
Builder Pilatus Britten-Norman
Similar Aircraft
Wing Span
Weight 7000 Ib (3175 kg) Maximum take-off weight
Engine Allison 250-B17F-1 flat rated to 400 shp (298 kW)
Maximum speed
Cruising speed 176 kt Max cruise speed at10,000 ft
Range 1006 nm (1863 km)
Service Ceiling 25,000 ft (7622 m)
Crew 2
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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Tuesday, September 21, 1999 10:18:15 AM