The US Air Force plans to acquire 22 more Cessna AC-208s to provide to allied governments to use for lightly armed surveillance missions.
An acquisition notice published on 23 March suggests the USAF is open to receive bids from companies interested in modifying aircraft to carry weapons and sensors.
AC-208s ordered by Iraqi, Lebanese and Afghan militaries received modifications by Orbital ATK, but AC-208s planned to be delivered to several other countries – including Chad, Cameroon, Niger and the Philippines – are modified by L-3 Communications.
A portion of the Iraqi AC-208 fleet is equipped to carry Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, but that 55kg-class missile is not among the weapons included in the USAF’s “sources sought” document for the next batch of 22 AC-208s.
Instead, the USAF plans to enable the AC-208s to carry the 70mm (2.75in) guided rockets – BAE Systems’ advanced precision kill weapon system.
Any interested contractors also must be able to integrate an L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical and infrared sensor with a laser designator.
Responses by contractors to the USAF’s market survey are due by 16 April.