Raytheon Aircraft introduces its extended range Beechcraft King Air 350ER at Le Bourget today. The aircraft is targeted at the growing surveillance, reconnaissance and disaster relief markets - the 350 is already used to great effect in Afghanistan.

The reconfigurable aircraft incorporates nacelle tanks, enabling operators to tanker their own fuel and reducing the risk of contamination. At 16,500lb (7,500kg), the 350ER is 10% heavier than its predecessor and sports heavyweight landing gear imported from the Beech 1900D. It can loiter low and slow or cruise at 300kt (550km/h) at 35,000ft (11,000m).

Taking off with full tanks and payload, the robust turboprop can fly 1000 nm (1,850km), perform a low altitude surveillance mission for 7h, return to base and land on an unfinished strip with 45min of fuel remaining. The mission-equipped version uses ISAR imaging and SeaVue technology to detect and classify small targets up to 200nm 360 around the aircraft, which means operators do not have to divert to identify vessels.

Certification is expected around the second quarter of 2006. The base model is expected to sell for $6.4 million.

The aircraft is the first focused cross-company collaboration between Raytheon Aircraft and Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems and Technical Services divisions.


Source: Flight Daily News