The Nomad was developed by Australia's Government Aircraft Factory from the late 1960s to help provide the facility with work after construction of licence built Mirage jet fighters was completed, and to offer a new rugged STOL utility transport suited to both military and civil operators.
First flight of the prototype Nomad N2 occurred on July 23 1971. A second prototype first flew on December 5 that year. First deliveries of the production N22 (to the Philippines military) began in 1975.
Features of the new utility included retractable undercarriage, two Allison 250 turboprops, a braced high mounted wing with full span double slotted flaps and a squared sided fuselage.
The initial N22 was followed by the N22B with an increased maximum takeoff weight, which was certificated in 1975. The N22 also formed the basis for the Searchmaster coastal patrol aircraft which apart from military users also saw service with Australian and US customs services. The Floatmaster was a N22B fitted with Wipaire floats with retractable undercarriage.
The N22 was stretched by 1.14m (3ft 9in) resulting in the N24. Aimed more at regional airlines (and marketed as the Commuterliner) than utility operators, the main cabin could seat 16. Versions of the N24 offered included the Cargomaster freighter and the Medicmaster aerial ambulance.
Nomad production ceased in 1984, as much due to mismanagement by the Australian government departments entrusted with its development as any faults with the aircraft.
It is interesting to note that GAF was renamed ASTA (Aerospace Technologies of Australia), which was acquired by Rockwell in 1996 and hence was subsequently inherited by Boeing late that year.
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