With the EU wanting its members to do more both to protect its borders and to intervene in the 3rd world . Member states came under pressure to improve some of their defence capabilities. The Irish were already contemplating replacing their 2 CN235 MPA with a more capable platform to give more capability for longer periods. With EU funding and direction they were able to purchase 3 New C-295W MPA and had funding for more crews as well. These Crews could be used support deployed aircraft or to integrate with other EU nations crews as the Irish aircraft were built to a common systems fit. Based at Baldonnel and usually with 1 aircraft forward deployed in Malta 282,283 and 284 rotated regularly.
The Irish Air Corps had long identified the need for a Transport aircraft. This aspiration fitted in well with EU defence policy. The original plan put forward by the Dublin government was for 1 C-295W and 2 C-295W MPA. However to add EU capability the EU offered to fund an Additional Transport and and Additional MPA leading to the Irish Air Corps having a Fleet of 2 Transports 280 & 281 in addition to the 3 Maritime patrol Aircraft. The Transports proved very useful to the Irish for training pilots and supporting the Army in Lebanon, forward deployed MPA in Malta, occasional forays on UN and EU missions in Africa as well as various specialised army training. One capability the Irish omitted in their specification that did cause some issues was a lack of Inflight refueling. Although the insistance on a Satellite communications system like the MPA's paid dividends.