The nature of modern warfare is such that counter-insurgency platforms are still in high demand and this has produced a glut of light-attack platforms to the market. This has also sparked interest on the part of many smaller aircraft manufacturing operations to delivery survivable, profitable attackers. The little-known aero-industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen considerable growth in recent years and one of the products being championed in the Calidus B-250 (formerly known as the "Bader").
Its maker, Calidus LLC, is a machinery / equipment company based in Abu Dhabi, the Gulf state's capital, and has recently entered the lucrative world of civilian and military aircraft. The aircraft's true design, however, is credited to Joseph Kovacs who is also responsible for the classic Embraer EMB-312 "Tucano" of Brazil. His designs were purchased by Brazilian-based Novaer and the B-250 was born as a joint-development between it and U.S.-based Rockwell Collins.
In the B-250, the crew of two are seated in tandem under a largely unobstructed, side-opening canopy offering excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. The cockpit is positioned near midships with the engine compartment at front. The B-250 features a turboprop engine driving a five-bladed propeller unit at the nose. The wing mainplanes are straight in their general shape and low-mounted along the fuselage sides near midships. The tail unit has a single fin with low-set horizontal planes. A retractable tricycle undercarriage allows for ground-running. Construction will features extensive use of composites.
The aircraft is being actively developed for the close-support / counter-insurgency role but will also offer Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities as well as intermediate training for future airmen. Promoted qualities of the B-250 include low procurement and low operating costs when compared to equal-role aircraft from other, better recognized, manufacturers.
It was announced that the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion suite, sporting two large color mission screens (Multi-Function Displays = MFDs) ahead of the pilot, will be the aircraft's avionics fit. A Head-Up Display (HUD) will provide the pilots with pertinent mission and performance data. Under the nose section of the fuselage is an Electro-Optical (EO) / InfraRed (IR) sensor unit.
Power stems from a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop unit rated at 1,600 horsepower. This supplies the vehicle with a ferry range out to 2,400 nautical miles and a service ceiling up to 30,000 feet.
The Bader features no fewer than seven hardpoints about its design, these intended to carry a mixed set of ordnance options including precision-guided munitions, rocket pods, cannon pods and mission pods as well as external fuel stores. This will allow the light attacker to counter small concentrations of enemy forces through a variable set of weapons. Excellent handling and low-altitude flight characteristics also figure into the mix as these are typical qualities of close support platforms like the B-250 intends to be.
The Calidus B-250 was showcased at Dubai Air Show 2017.