A US Air Force Beechcraft MC-12 Liberty has crashed in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, killing its four crewmembers.

Details in the 27 April crash are scarce, but the Air Force has released the names of the two pilots and two cryptology personnel aboard. The crash occurred in Zabul Province, roughly 95.6nm (177km) northeast of its base at Kandahar Air Field.

The MC-12, a modified Beechcraft King Air 350, is packed with signals intelligence gear and cameras and is used for surveillance.

Fifty of the aircraft were ordered in a rush from Beechcraft after it became clear that there were too few intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, including unmanned air vehicles (UAV), to fulfill requirements.

The 27 April crash marks the first for the type in military service.

Source: Flight International