King Air Picked As Surveillance Platform
At last October's National Business Aviation Association convention, Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture noted that an increasing part of its business is supplying special mission aircraft to the military and governments. The latest example comes by way of a contract won by Boeing for an airborne surveillance system. Boeing is buying four King Air 350s to use as platforms for the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems and has options for two more for support aircraft, according to the Wichita Eagle.
The King Airs will be armed with a "self protection suite" and a plethora of electronic eyes, including an electro-optic and infrared full-motion video sensor, a communications intelligence collection system, an aerial precision guidance system, line-of-sight tactical and beyond line-of-sight communications suites. Somewhere amidst the hardware will be stations for two operators. The test program could be a bonanza for Hawker Beechcraft. If the Army buys the Boeing system, the King Air would seem to have a leg up as the deployment platform since the tests will have been conducted on it.