Hawker Beechcraft is evaluating whether the long-serving but still popular Baron 58 piston twin could be adapted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Iraqi Air Force
In late September, the U.S. Pentagon announced that the first payment had been made concerning the supply of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to Iraq, ending a period of delay due to budgetary issues and speculation about whether the contract would proceed.
Hawker Beechcraft is displaying for the first time the latest addition to the company’s customer demonstration fleet, a King Air 350ER configured to highlight the type’s adaptability to a variety of special missions. Appropriately, the aircraft carries the registration N1459, corresponding to the number of special mission turboprops that had been sold by this spring.
Aviation & Applied Ecology in Moscow has just taken delivery of a Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 with provision for dual digital-mapping cameras for photo- survey missions. It is also capable of being rapidly converted to VIP transport configuration. This aircraft is the first King Air to be exported to Russia, the type having received its local certification last December.
Hawker Beechcraft has delivered the first four of 15 Beechcraft T-6A military trainers scheduled to go to the Iraqi air force under the terms of a pair of contracts signed last August and September, the company announced here yesterday. Plans call for the air force to take delivery of the rest of the aircraft in the first and fourth quarters of this year.
How much more performance can be extracted from the King Air twin turboprop to satisfy surveillance requirements? The latest Model 350ER offers almost double the range and payload of the early King Airs, first flown more than 40 years ago. But in a quest to offer short-field performance from hot-and-high airfields, Hawker Beechcraft Corp.
Hawker Beechcraft has obtained FAA certification for the King Air 350ER (ER for extended range), which adds nacelle fuel tanks to raise the aircraft’s fuel capacity to 775 gallons and its max range to 2,570 nm, an increase of more than 1,000 nm over a standard King Air 350.
Having acquired its first aircraft in 2004, the reborn Iraqi air force is now performing routine missions alongside coalition fleets in the country. Further procurement is expanding the air force inventory in key mission areas, and U.S. forces are extremely pleased with the progress that the young air arm has made in a short time.
Planners at the U.S. Central Air Forces Command have begun conducting an assessment of equipment requirements to boost the Iraqi air force’s counterinsurgency and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability. One option under consideration could involve light attack aircraft such as the Raytheon T-6A/B Texan II turboprop single.
Recently retired U.S. Air Force chief of staff Gen. John Jumper has just lived through a tumultuous tour of duty. Little did he know where the job might take him on his first day in office, which was more than a little disrupted by the events that morning. The date was Sept. 11, 2001.