With regional demand for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft at a high, L-3 Communications' Mission Integration Division (MID) is giving a debut Dubai spin to its Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350ER-based Spydr.

The US company unveiled the special mission demonstrator earlier this year in the UK and is visiting the Middle East after also taking it to Waterkloof air base in South Africa early last month.

Possible requirements for ISR aircraft exist in the UAE, but also potentially with nations including Oman and Turkey, said Greg Smith, director special programmes. "We have sent a lot of invitations to countries in the region, and are looking forward to talking to them," he said.

L-3 Spyder King Air 350ER

 © Billypix

After participating in the static display this week, the Spydr demonstrator will return to the USA to undergo modifications. The King Air's current nose section will be replaced with a new design, which at 0.6m (2ft) longer, will enable it to carry a second electro-optical/infrared sensor. Its aircraft already has one L-3 Wescam MX-15 payload. L-3 will also install a Selex Galileo PicoSAR synthetic aperture radar in the fairing beneath its fuselage.

"We'll do ground and flight tests in February and March and then start trials and customer demonstrations in April 2012," said Smith.

L-3 MID has previously forecast a global market for 150 Spydr-type systems, with its modular mission equipment also suitable for integration with types such as the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J Spartan and Lockheed Martin C-130, or even with unmanned air systems.

Source: Flight Daily News