The Panama’s National Naval Aviation Service (Servicio Nacional Aeronaval, SENAN) has received a second Beechcraft King Air 250, donated by the United State and configured for maritime patrol missions. The new aircraft is intended to support operations to counter illicit trafficking and illegal fishing, as well as humanitarian SAR efforts.The aircraft was delivered to the Lieutenant Octavio Rodriguez Garrido Air Base in Howard. While pilots and system operators are being trained in the US, maintenance personnel are being trained by AirTec, which has operations in Panama and uses a Basler BT-67 on patrol missions in support of the Panamanian authorities.
The Beechcraft King Air is a line of utility aircraft produced by Beechcraft. The King Air line comprises a number of twin-turboprop models that have been divided into two families. The Model 90 and 100 series developed in the 1960s are known as King Airs, while the later T-tail Model 200 and 300 series were originally marketed as Super King Airs, with the name “Super” being dropped by Beechcraft in 1996 (although it is still often used to differentiate the 200 and 300 series King Airs). The King Air was the first aircraft in its class and was produced continuously from 1964 to 2021. It outsold all of its turboprop competitors combined.
The U.S. military has used King Air 90s in various roles, primarily VIP and liaison transport, with designations including the VC-6A, the T-44 Pegasus, and the U-21 Ute. The U-21 Ute used by the US Army was the most common version. The T-44A Pegasus is a trainer version, designated the Model H90 by Beechcraft, used to train United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force pilots to fly multi-engine aircraft. A total of 61 were delivered to the US Navy between 1977 and 1980. In August 2006, the Navy announced that after 29 years of operation, the T-44A fleet would be upgraded with modernized avionics systems, and redesignated T-44Cs.
The Panama’s National Aeronaval Servicea is a branch of the Panamanian Public Forces which is responsible for carrying out naval and air operations. The unit was created as civilian police forces and component of the Public Forces attached to Ministry of Public Security. Its role is to perform protection, surveillance, security and defense of the air and maritime jurisdictional areas. The service has approximately 2,500 personnel, with 45 boats and approximately 40 aircraft. According to the national law, the SENAN will act as a public security entity in the maritime, air, port and airport areas throughout the national territory, by performing the following functions: