U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) air and marine operations unit has placed an order with Textron Aviation for two additional Beechcraft King Air 350CERs to join its fleet of 23 other King Air 350s that provide ground and maritime patrols. The pair of 350CERs will be modified by Sierra Nevada Corp. for operation as multi-role enforcement aircraft (MEA).
MEA aircraft feature an array of active and passive sensors, technical collection equipment, and satcom capabilities that are used for ground interdiction, air-to-air intercepts, and medium-range maritime patrols. They are operated by a crew of four, two of whom operate the aircraft’s specialized mission equipment and coordinate information to the ground.
“These aircraft can fly six-hour missions and can deploy to hot spots where multi-sensor patrols assist both ground and marine agents to detect, interdict, and prevent acts of terrorism as well as the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States,” said Textron Aviation v-p of special missions sales Bob Gibbs.
The 350CER is an extended-range version of the 350i with an optional cargo door. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A or optional PT6A-67A turboprop engines with Hartzell four-blade propellers. Collins Aerospace’s Pro Line Fusion avionics round out the 350CER’s flight deck.