USAF photo of the first MC-12 Aircraft Landing At Balad Joint Base, Iraq

USAF photo of the first MC-12 Aircraft Landing At Balad Joint Base, Iraq

The $61 million contract awarded to L3 Communications Corporation, Integrated Systems Group of Greenville, Texas on August 22nd 2014 will see 2 Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 350 aircraft be modified with the addition of “… sensors, a ground exploitation cell, line-of-sight and satellite communications datalinks, along with a robust voice communications suite”, according to the US Air Force MC-12W description. The system integration project, part of Foreign Military Sales contract with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is stated to conclude by December 31st 2015.

The ISR adaptation of the C-12 cargo aircraft (military designation for the Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 350 and the -ER Extended Range version) has a range of 1,500 nautical miles (2,00 nm for the ER version), cruising at 312 knots at an altitude of 35,000 feet. It is flown by two pilots and staffed by another 2 sensor operators. The aircraft employment as a real time Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform gained popularity complementing unmanned aircraft systems in counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq from June 10, 2009 when first delivered to the 362nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, according to defense-update web site. That article went on to describe some of the aircraft systems and capabilities further:

“..a Wescam MX-15D EO multisensor payload providing full-motion video in day and night, through the color zoom video camera, high magnification camera and thermal imaging system, the payload also accommodates a laser rangefinder, laser target designator and laser illuminator. The electronic warfare segment on the aircraft comprises SIGINT and jamming system, enabling the operator to intercept and combat adversary communications.”



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