The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is to provide the Cessna C408 SkyCourier twin-turboprop to Foreign Military Sale (FMS) customers as part of a wider light transport aircraft award for allied nations. The Cessna 408 SkyCourier is an American twin-turboprop, high-wing, utility aircraft under development by Textron Aviation. The 408’s design was developed to match FedEx Express requirements, like the earlier Cessna 208 Caravan. The clean-sheet design should offer better cabin flexibility and payload capability, superior performance, and lower operating costs than its competitors.
It will be available in a 19-passenger variant with large cabin windows and separate crew and passenger doors, or in a cargo variant sized for three LD3s and 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) of payload, featuring a “large cargo door and a flat floor cabin”. It will cruise up to 200 km (370 km/h), with a maximum range of 900 mi (1,700 km). Single-point refueling will speed turnarounds. The airframe will be built from traditional aluminum materials and will be equipped with proven Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65 engines, fixed landing gear, and Garmin G1000 avionics. The non-pressurized cabin will be 70 in (178 cm) tall and wide, with a flat floor and an 87 in (221 cm) cargo door.
The US is to provide the twin-engined airlifted to foreign allied nations as part of a wider IDIQ award of Textron platforms. The C408, which to date has no military customers, is part of an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) award that the DoD is to make for a range of Textron light transport and liaison aircraft that also includes the Beechcraft B200 and B300 King Air, as well as the Cessna C208 Grand Caravan. The United States Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and the Fixed Wing Project Office (FWPO), anticipate a potential requirement to satisfy the procurement of civilian fixed-wing turboprop-type aircraft.