MC-12W Lib­erty passes 3,00,000 fly­ing hours


Beale MC-12W Lib­erty air­craft sur­passed 3,00,000 com­bat fly­ing hours at a for­ward op­er­at­ing base in Afghanistan in Septem­ber. The air­craft was de­vel­oped in re­sponse to ur­gent re­quests from ground com­bat com­man­ders for tac­ti­cal ISR. The re­sult was the fastest mil­i­tary ac­qui­si­tion since the P-51 Mustang in World War II.

The mile­stone trans­lates to ap­prox­i­mately 34 years of fly­ing that the Lib­erty team achieved in less than four. Pro­ject Lib­erty was also cred­ited with fly­ing 73 per cent of all Air Force in­tel­li­gence sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance (ISR) sor­ties and 24 per cent of all Air Force com­bat sor­ties in Afghanistan for 2012.

The MC-12W is a medium al­ti­tude, twinengine, tur­bo­prop air­craft loaded with sta­teof-the-art op­ti­cal and sensor equip­ment. The air­craft’s pri­mary mis­sion is to pro­vide ISR sup­port di­rectly to ground forces.

Lib­erty crews con­sist of two pilots, a sensor op­er­a­tor and a tac­ti­cal sys­tems op­er­a­tor who build the tac­ti­cal pic­ture and shape com­bat op­er­a­tions.

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