Turkey has launched a project to lease five Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350s modified to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services, with the aircraft to fill a capability gap until the planned introduction of Turkish Aerospace Industries' (TAI's) Anka unmanned air vehicle.

Worth $70 million, the planned two-year deal would equip second-hand King Airs with equipment including an electro-optical/infrared sensor payload and a data link to distribute imagery. The twin-engined type will be maintained by a private company, but flown by Turkish army pilots.

 MC-12 - USAF

© US Air Force

The Turkish aircraft could deliver a capability like the US Air Force's MC-12 fleet

The need to fund an interim capability comes after diplomatic problems between Turkey and Israel have prevented Ankara from acquiring more Israel Aerospace Industries Heron UAVs. Turkey is now considering awarding TAI a launch order for 10 Anka aircraft, with the country's air force to receive its first examples within two years of a contract award.

Source: Flight International