Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) demonstrated the multi-role strike capabilities of the MC-145B Coyote aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida as part of the U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Armed Overwatch program. The MC-145B’s high wing, powerful engines and rugged, fixed tricycle gear are ideal for safe and reliable operations in the austere environments anticipated for the Armed Overwatch mission. Sierra Nevada Corporation is partnered with PZL Mielec, a Lockheed Martin Company for the program.
The MC-145B is a significantly enhanced and modified version of the M28 short take-off and landing twin-engine turboprop, a utility aircraft currently operating in the some of the harshest environments across the globe including the deserts of Jordan, the extreme cold of Estonia, and the subtropical forests of Kenya. The aircraft’s weapon system employs extensive airframe modifications including wing weapons pylons, a retractable sensor lift, additional fuel tanks and internal weapons launchers to accommodate state of the art sensor and weapons system technologies.
More than 100 M28 aircraft have been produced and delivered to customers worldwide in both commercial and military configurations. A new digital cockpit provides flight and mission data to the pilots while boasting training and logistics commonality with the U-28A Draco (Pilatus PC-12) surveillance aircraft. The MC-145B features both a cabin and a C-130-style air-operable rear cargo ramp. The aircraft rapidly re-configures to air drop, paratroop and casualty evacuation roles while supporting self-deployment and resupply of forward operating locations without a reliance on strategic airlift assets.
“We approached the Armed Overwatch platform from a different direction, embracing the requirements for endurance, austere operations and weapons payload with a look toward supporting SOCOM’s future challenges,” said Robert Horky, senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives for SNC’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Aviation and Security (IAS) business area. “MC-145B Coyote’s unique configuration brings versatility in sensor and weapons employment to best meet SOCOM’s ever-evolving needs.”
Development of the MC-145B weapons system follows a longstanding collaboration between SNC and Lockheed Martin, previously seen with Special Operations Forces Global Logistics Support Services team (SOF GLSS) on AC/MC-130J fleet missions worldwide. Initial aerodynamic and flight modelling performed at SNC illustrate feasibility to deploy large, palletized munitions, including Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), from the MC-145B’s cabin. This capability is highlighted as a roadmap toward engagement in both traditional permissive environments and the near-peer fight.
“The M28 turboprop has proven its value in forward-deployed military operations around the world where payload, endurance, short take-off and landing capabilities and exceptional low-speed handling characteristics are critical to mission success,” said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company. “SNC clearly sees how the future MC-145B variant can grow to take on new sensors, weapons, and equipment that can meet evolving operational needs.”
PZL Mielec (Polskie ZakÅ‚ady Lotnicze – Polish Aviation Works)is a Polish aerospace manufacturer based in Mielec. It is the largest aerospace manufacturer in postwar Poland. In 2007, it was acquired by Sikorsky Aircraft (a Lockheed Martin Corporation), which retained the brand.
Owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC is a trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through best-of-breed, open architecture engineering in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and Defense. SNC is recognized among The Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space and was selected as a US Best Managed Company for two consecutive years. For nearly 60 years, SNC has delivered state-of-the-art civil, military and commercial solutions including more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems and components to customers worldwide, and participated in more than 500 missions to space, including to Mars.