Beechcraft has a long history of providing special-mission platforms for military intelligence and security programs, reaching back to the late 1950s. Today this business remains highly important to the company, based largely on the King Air family that has become a popular choice of platforms for special-mission duties. Now the company is broadening its portfolio by offering the smaller and cheaper Baron G58 as an ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platform, and has already delivered the first example to a customer.
Boeing and the U.S. Army completed the first flight of an enhanced medium-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (Emarss) aircraft in late May. The modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER is the first of four Emarss engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft that Boeing is developing for the Army.
Boeing has flown a “risk reduction prototype” for the U.S. Army’s enhanced medium altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (Emarss). The modified Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350ER took off from Summit Aviation’s Middletown, Del. facility, on October 6. It will explore the effects of the added fairings for sensors on the aircraft’s aerodynamics; Boeing said it is seeking an FAA supplemental type certificate for the modifications.
Hawker Beechcraft is displaying for the first time the latest addition to the company’s customer demonstration fleet, a King Air 350ER configured to highlight the type’s adaptability to a variety of special missions. Appropriately, the aircraft carries the registration N1459, corresponding to the number of special mission turboprops that had been sold by this spring.