Subscribe Free
in Defence / Features

Kuwait orders King Air 350 spyplanes

Posted 22 October 2018 · Add Comment

The US State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale (FMS) for four Beechcraft King Air 350ER intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to Kuwait at an estimated cost of $259 million, writes Jon Lake.

Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft (formerly Raytheon) King Air 350, 350i and 350ER have become a popular basis for ISR and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) conversions.
These conversions range from aircraft with a single sensor – usually an electro optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret or a full-motion video (FMV) camera – to more sophisticated platforms with a range of sensors, encompassing communications intelligence (COMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT) or electronic surveillance measure (ESM) capabilities, maritime or overland search or surveillance radars, sideways-looking airborne radars (SLARs), light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and even laser designators.
ISR/ISTAR King Airs have been produced by Beechcraft (and Raytheon), but also by Boeing, L-3, Raytheon UK’s airborne solutions division, and by Sierra Nevada.
Once seen as a budget alternative to larger ISR aircraft, for smaller, more financially constrained operators, light ISR aircraft like the King Air have found a niche with larger, more prosperous air arms, complementing unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), and offering greater situational awareness on-scene.
The Kuwaiti King Airs will be based on the heavier-weight, longer-range model 350ER, with enhanced PT6A-67A engines. The aircraft will be equipped with both radar and EO/IR sensors, as well as comprehensive defensive aids.
One of the aircraft will be modified to allow it to undertake VIP or senior leadership transport, medical evacuation or command and control missions. This presumably means that on this aircraft, at least, ISR mission systems will be supplied in modular, roll-on/roll-off form.
The mission equipment specified for the aircraft includes a belly-mounted Selex Seaspray 7500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, previously used on the US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) King Air 350ER multi-role enforcement aircraft (MEA). The aircraft will also be fitted with an L3 WESCAM AN/AAQ-35 EO/IR turret – better known as the MX-15HDi.
The Kuwaiti King Airs will be fitted with secure communications, cryptographic, and precision navigation equipment, identification friend or foe (IFF) systems and will feature AN/AAR-47 missile warning systems (MWS) and AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispenser systems.
 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

The Allen key to success

Steve Allenís promotion to executive vice president of Dnata has come at a tough time for the industry, but, as he tells Jill Stockbridge, he is unlocking opportunities and planning growth.

Gulfstream adds new features to the G280

Gulfstream Aerospace has added several new features and options to the popular super-midsize Gulfstream G280 as investment in the aircraft and interest in the segment continue.

Why pilot mental health has jumped up the agenda

After a six-month delay, new EU pilot mental fitness rules came into effect earlier this year. With many non-EU countries and airlines mirroring European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) best practice, several Middle East carriers are

Accelerating the transition of long-haul aviation towards net zero

Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Shell are investing in technology required to achieve the transition of long-haul aviation towards net zero.

Boeing releases Q3 deliveries

The Boeing Company has announced programme deliveries across its commercial and defence operations for the third quarter of 2021.

Al Qubaisi named as new director-general of UAE national space agency

The UAE has appointed Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi as the new director-general of its national space agency.

Aviation Africa 2022SK
See us at
DAS BT2909181121DIACC BT0809131121World Defence Show 2022Aviation Africa 2022