US military designation: RU-38A Twin Condor

TYPE: Multisensor surveillance lightplane.

PROGRAMME: Development started 1993; substantial redesign of single-engined SA 2-37A/RG-8A; first US Coast Guard 2-37A returned to Schweizer 24 January 1994 for conversion beginning in April; first flight (N61428) 31 May 1995; second aircraft was due to fly in mid-1996, but was destroyed in a crash earlier the same year while still an RG-8; third was to be first 'new' build, but with wing taken from stock; all three for USCG. Type publicly revealed 20 July 1995. First delivery due to US Coast Guard in late 1996; however, programme suspended following RG-8 crash and not resumed until December 1996 when contract amended to two aircraft with engines uprated with turbochargers. Modifications introduced in 1997 comprised a redesigned tailplane and improved inlet ducts for the rear engine. Second (new-build) aircraft registered N61449 in July 1997. Flight testing (aircraft reserialled 8103) for USCG acceptance began at Edwards AFB on 10 July 1998 by 445th Flight Test Squadron, USAF programme was 100 sorties in three/four months; however test programme was terminated in the following year. Both aircraft remain registered to Schweizer.
Three additional aircraft, designation SA 2-38B, registered in June 2003 (N2101J, c/n 001, N2082C, c/n 002, and N2083N, c/n 003).
Description applies to SA 2-38A.

CURRENT VERSIONS: Two-seat: version, as described, to USCG; three-seat version reportedly under design for an export customer; turbocharged version also under development, to increase operating altitude to 9,150 in (30,000 ft).

CUSTOMERS: US Coast Guard (two); second US customer, and one overseas, also reported. However, by late 1999, only two known to have been built.

COSTS: US$450,000 (1993) for initial redesign, US$35 million (1994) USAF contract to convert existing two aircraft; approximately US$1 million each (excluding sensors) for any additional procurement. Renegotiated contract (December 1996) covered two aircraft for US$53 million.

DESIGN FEATURES: Main objectives were to increase night patrol capability and reduce engine coking problems compared with SA 2-37A; additional engine also increases safety factor for overwater operation, though normal mode is single-engine cruise with second engine shut down.
Utilises wings and cockpit forward section of SA 2-37A; wing section Wortmann FX-61-163 at root and FX-60-126 (modified) at tip; principal design changes are adoption of pod and twin tailboom configuration with two engines in push-pull layout; cabin slightly widened.

LANDING GEAR: Fixed tricycle type; single wheel on each unit. Main units Cleveland 6.50-10 wheel assemblies with Cleveland 30-95A brakes; nosewheel is Cleveland 6.00-8.

POWER PLANT: Prototype originally with two heavily muffled Teledyne Continental GIO-550A flat-six engines, each rated at 261 kW (350 hp) at 3,400 rpm, with 3:2 reduction gear to limit propeller speed to 2,267 rpm. One engine in nose and one in rear of fuselage pod, respectively driving a tractor and pusher constant-speed, fully feathering three-blade propeller. Turbocharged engines in service version. Usable fuel capacity 375 litres (99.0 US gallons; 82.5 Imp gallons).

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and sensor operator, side by side.

SYSTEMS: Three independent 28 V power sources.

AVIONICS: Comms: Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-182 VHF/UHF and Honeywell HF 990 radios, Bendix/King KY 196 VHF, KMA 24H-65 audio selector (two) and KFS 594 HF control; Wolfsburg RT9600 marine band radio.
Radar: Honeywell AN/APN-215(V) colour weather radar with search and mapping modes in nose of port tailboom.
Flight: Bendix/King KI 229 RMI, KI 256 flight director, KI 525A HSI, KI 250 radar altimeter, KDI 572 DME, KC 192 autopilot, KR 87 ADF and KNS 81 VOR/LOC/GS/RNAV. BAE Systems 7880 Omega/GPS.
Mission: Surveillance radar, as above. FLIR/LLLTV and dual recorder in nose of starboard boom; Bendix/King KY 58 and KY 75 communications encryption devices. Fully integrated sensor suite under development.