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Cessna is promoting at the show a new hard point option for its Grand Caravan EX. The feature, which recently secured US certification, is designed to strengthen the multimission potential of the single-engined turboprop and can be viewed on an EX wing mock-up.

“These hard points expand the aircraft’s versatility by allowing operators additional mission capabilities such as extended range with additional fuel tanks, increased cargo space, agricultural operations and the ability to configure the aircraft for missions that require armament,” says Cessna parent Textron Aviation.

“It’s essential that we continue to tailor solutions for our special mission operators’ needs,” says Tom Hammoor, president of Textron Aviation’s defence company. “The hard point wing structure furthers the Grand Caravan EX’s already legendary versatility by adding more mission flexibility to the platform,” he adds.

Caravan hard points

Textron Aviation

Textron says the Grand Caravan EX is well suited for a wide array of operations due to its spacious cabin, high useful load of more than 1,560kg (3,500lb), large cargo door and the ability to operate from short, unimproved surfaces. The model is already a success in a variety of special mission applications, including aerial survey, air ambulance, paratrooper, amphibious operations, surveillance, training and utility/transport.

The Grand Caravan EX was introduced in 2013 as a re-powered version of the larger Caravan that originally entered service in 1990. Powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engines, the $2.4 million EX-variant delivers a 38% improvement in rate of climb, and is aimed at operators in hot-and-high environments.

Since its introduction in 1984, Cessna has delivered over 2,500 Caravan-series aircraft – which includes the standard 208 model – and the global fleet has amassed over 13 million fight hours. “The Caravan platform is operating in many special mission roles around the world and accounts for a large percentage of our worldwide Caravan fleet,” Hammoor says.

Flight Fleets Analyzer records over 100 deliveries of the turboprop single in 2015 alone, 20 of which were shipped in a special missions configuration.

Source: Flight Daily News