Above: The NGAA ‘Catalina II’ will be ‘a common platform for many uncommon missions’

 Florida-based Catalina Aircraft, which holds type certificates for the PBY-5A Catalina with US and Canadian civil aviation regulators, has revealed plans to launch a modernized version of the iconic amphibian.

The original Consolidated PBY Catalina amphibious flying boat first flew in 1936 and served 41 nations during World War Two across a variety of missions. An estimated 3,308 variants were built between 1936-1945 and the type was also used extensively by a variety of airlines.

After supporting the continued airworthiness of ‘legacy Catalinas’ around the world for the last 14 years, Catalina Aircraft have ‘made the decision to formalize a production re-start programme to bring [the] beloved Catalina back into mainstream service as a new production twin turboprop amphibious flying boat’. Following discussions with ‘several governments, militaries, agencies and commercial operators, and receiving positive interest from those parties,’ Catalina Aircraft plan to offer the Next-Generation Amphibious Aircraft (NGAA) Catalina II to both military and civilian customers.

Describing the many capabilities that the modernized platform offers, “being capable of performing so many unique missions, and in a variety of market segments,” company president Lawrence Reece added that “interest in the rebirth of this legendary amphibian has been extraordinary”.

The NGAA Catalina II is set to be the largest, fastest, ‘most capable amphibious aircraft available worldwide with Western Certifications’ and will feature modern engines and avionics to give the aircraft ‘capabilities no other amphibian can provide today’. Noting that as 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, the manufacturer also believes the new Catalina will offer customers and end-users a unique platform to travel and operate ‘in regions of the world not supported by traditional airport infrastructure’.

Although no firm orders have yet been announced, Catalina Aircraft anticipates to commence deliveries of the new platform in 2029.