To make this website work, we log user data. By using Shephard's online services, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.

Open menu Search

PAS 2011: HBC extends King Air variant to wider market

21st June 2011 - 15:31 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) released the latest variant in its King Air series of special mission aircraft to the wider market at the Paris Air Show.

With a company demonstrator on public display for the first time, the King Air 350ER (Extended Range) platform is currently in operation with both US and Iraqi air forces. However, HBC told Shephard that it was now in a position to market the system elsewhere.

According to Justin Ladner, HBC's VP for commercial and international special missions, the company is considering a 'number of maritime patrol, ISR and multi-mission tenders', including options in the UK and US.

Comprising two additional fuel tanks, the 350ER provides an extra 180 gallons of fuel which can give operators a total of 12 hours endurance- an increase of four hours. This means the aircraft now has a total range of 2,560nm for 'dirty and dusty' operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Ladner.

In addition, he described how increased endurance was a relatively new requirement which could extend the utility of the aircraft and continued: 'We have taken the aircraft and altered it for special mission operations to increase the speed to the market and lower costs from a non-recurring standpoint for the customer,' Ladner explained while describing how an air force could procure the FAA-certified aircraft off-the-shelf before handing over to a systems integrator for specialised mission sets.

Options include potential for the carriage of two radome and EO/IR sensors with associated instrumentation as well as bubble observation windows and medical equipment for casualty evacuation.

A total of five King Air 350ERs were delivered as part of a foreign military sales agreement for the  Iraqi Air Force's 'Peace Dragon' ISR programme with the final aircraft having been delivered in 2009. Elsewhere, the US Air Force operates some 42 350ERs as MC-12W Project Liberty special mission aircraft.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

As part of our promise to deliver comprehensive coverage to Premium News and Defence Insight …

Read full bio

Share to