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Canada requests surveillance-adapted King Air buy

Beechcraft has edged closer to securing a potential $300 million contract to supply the Canadian armed forces with a trio of King Air 350ER twin-turboprops adapted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance duties.

Details of the prospective sale were released by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on 4 October, following its approval by the US Department of State.

Each aircraft will undergo modifications to enable it to carry an L3 Wescam MX-15D electro-optical/infrared sensor and onboard communications equipment, plus laser and missile warning systems and countermeasures dispensers for self-protection.

Textron Aviation company Beechcraft will perform the work at its Wichita site in Kansas, with Ottawa to agree an offset package related to the Foreign Military Sales programme deal.

"The proposed sale improves Canada's capability to meet current and future threats, strengthen its homeland defence and the combined defence of North America, and support coalition partners overseas," the DSCA says.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the Royal Canadian Air Force currently lacks a dedicated manned ISR capability in the King Air class.

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