Leonardo has been selected as prime contractor for the provision of two special mission-configured Beechcraft King Air 350ERs to an undisclosed African customer.
The aircraft will be integrated with Leonardo’s airborne tactical observation surveillance (ATOS) system, and sensors including the Seaspray active electronically scanned array radar, an identification friend-or-foe transponder and interrogator, Link 11 data link and a mission management system.
To be belly-mounted on the King Air, the Seaspray is operated elsewhere by the US Coast Guard on its Lockheed Martin C-130H transports and the Australian Coastwatch on its Bombardier Dash 8. ATOS, meanwhile, is integrated on 50 aircraft worldwide, including types used by the Italian Guardia di Finanza and coast guard, and Australian customs.
Leonardo has also provided similarly-configured King Airs for other customers, including Ecuador and another undisclosed nation.
The company says that its position as prime on the programme reflects the importance of the mission systems, and that modifications and integration will be carried out by Leonardo. It will also carry out flight testing with a third party in-country, ahead of delivery.
The modified King Airs will have an endurance of 5h, and will be utilised for maritime surveillance, search and rescue and maritime pollution detection.
Source: Flight Daily News