Beechcraft highlights ISR platforms
in Paris ] as to go on surveillance missions at short notice. The aircraft can support six-hour missions with its fuel/payload. Beechcraft has long served the ISR markets with its range of King Air turboprops and first introduced a version of its twin-engine piston Baron G58 aircraft with ISR capabilities. The company delivered the first Baron G58 with an ISR package in 2013 to the Fuerzas Unidas de Rápida Acción (FURA), an agency within the Puerto Rico Police Department that uses the aircraft for law enforcement surveillance missions within the region.
The Baron G58 ISR package includes a FLIR 230-HD electrooptical/infrared (EO/IR) camera system, an operator’s console that houses the mapping/mission management computer, a recorder and a multi-band communications radio system and data link for special mission operators. The 230-HD EO/IR camera has the ability to virtually see both day and night, over land and water, in both good and poor weather.
Talking about the Indian market, Keady said that the growth has been ‘flat’ and the company was hoping that the present government would bring in ‘friendly import regulations’. Textron, he said, has been working with various state governments, particularly in the North East where requirements of such aircraft seem to be coming up. The strategy, he said, is to understand the requirements of the state governments and then penetrate the market. Its recent win has been in Uttar Pradesh where the government has purchased a King Air 250. Beechcraft sees opportunity in surveillance in India. The King Air 350ER, he said, had a 2700 search radar which could be used for maritime patrol and this aircraft had the capability to drop light crafts. The Grand Caravan EX could be deployed for cargo operations and had capabilities to operate on dirt runways.
Military Aircraft Delivered
Beechcraft announced at the show that it had delivered four T-6D military aircraft to the United States Army. “We are pleased that the US Army is joining the US Air Force, US Navy and countries around the world in trusting the T-6 to prepare and support their combat flying forces,” said Russ Bartlett, President, Beechcraft Defense Company. “This versatile platform comprised of four aircraft will be used in a variety of training and mission support applications.”
The Beechcraft T-6D is a hybrid of the T-6B and T-6C trainers. It features new standard avionics, featuring integrated mission computers, upfront control panels, multi-function displays and a heads-up display. The Army T-6D aircraft have a hard point wing to allow carriage of up to six wing-mounted pylons and two external fuel tanks.
More than 7,300 Beechcraft King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964, making it the bestselling business turboprop family in the world. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 60 million flight hours in its first 50 years, serving roles in all branches of the US military, and flying commercial missions ranging from traditional passenger and cargo transport to electronic and imagery surveillance, air ambulance, airway calibration, photographic mapping, training and weather modification.
Beechcraft Baron G58 ISR demonstrator