Textron Aviation Defense LLC in Wichita has won a $12.5 million contract for continued support of operations using Beechcraft King Air turboprops by the Iraqi Air Force. In 2007, Beechcraft, then Raytheon Aircraft Co., won a $132 million Air Force contract to supply six twin-turboprop King Airs for the Peace Dragon King Air 350 program, including five intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planes and one transport version. The continued support work covered by the new contract award will be done in Wichita, where the company â€” now part of the local aviation division of Textron Inc. â€” builds the King Air. This modification adds the six months to Option Year Three of the multi-year basic contract. That work is expected to be completed locally by the end of March.
The King Airs were developed for special mission applications. Developed for special mission applications, the King Air 350ER turboprops utilized in the Peace Dragon Program include heavyweight landing gear, long range nacelle-mounted fuel tanks and other airframe modifications to support a 1,500 pound increase in gross weight. Adding the nacelle fuel tanks provides the King Air 350ER with more than eight hours of endurance and 2,400 nautical miles of range. The airplanes are equipped with Lynx-2 synthetic aperture radar units built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of San Diego, California. Planes in the Peace Dragon program have been equipped with heavyweight landing gear, long range nacelle-mounted fuel tanks and have undergone other airframe modifications.