Aerial Warfare

Nigerian Air Force Receives Final Beechcraft King Air 360ER Aircraft


Nigerian Air Force Receives Final Beechcraft King Air 360ER Aircraft

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Nigerian Air Force Receives Final Beechcraft King Air 360ER Aircraft
Nigerian Air Force Receives Final Beechcraft King Air 360ER Aircraft

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has bolstered its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities with the recent delivery of the second and final Beechcraft King Air 360ER aircraft. Designated with the registration NAF 206, this addition marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s efforts to enhance its airborne surveillance and transport capabilities. This acquisition follows Nigeria’s strategic decision in October 2022 to invest in ISR aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Under the contracts signed, the NAF opted for Beechcraft King Air 360i and Diamond Da-62 aircraft to fulfill its ISR requirements. The total value of the deal for the two Beechcraft stands at N10,860,000,000 ($24,794,520.30), inclusive of spares and ground support equipment. While the completion timeframe for the deal remains undisclosed, these aircraft are poised to support a wide range of national security missions within the West African region.

The arrival of the Beechcraft King Air 360ER underscores the NAF’s commitment to modernizing its fleet and integrating advanced technology into its operations. The Beechcraft King Air 360ER, selected by the NAF for its ISR requirements, will undergo conversion into a special mission aircraft dedicated to Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance operations. The NAF’s involvement in counterinsurgency operations against groups like Boko Haram in the northeast region necessitates robust ISR capabilities. The Beechcraft King Air 360ER, along with the Diamond DA62 MPP, will serve as invaluable assets in these operations, providing vital real-time intelligence to ground forces and aiding in the identification and neutralization of terrorist threats. This approach enhances the effectiveness of surveillance and reconnaissance operations, facilitating rapid responses to potential threats and bolstering Nigeria’s security posture in the region.

 Beechcraft King Air 360ER aircraft
Beechcraft King Air 360ER aircraft. (Photo by Textron Aviation)

The Beechcraft Super King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by Beechcraft (owned by Textron Aviation since 2014). The Model 200 and Model 300 series were originally marketed as the “Super King Air” family; the “Super” designation was dropped in 1996. They form the King Air line together with the King Air Model 90 and 100 series. Beechcraft currently offers the 250 (design. B200GT) and the larger 350i (B300) models. The 350ER (B300CER) is available to government, military and commercial customers for special mission operations such as aerial survey, air ambulance, flight inspection and surveillance. The Super King Air family has been in continuous production since 1974, the longest production run of any civilian turboprop aircraft in its class. The only other pressurized multiengine turboprop utility aircraft now in production is the Piaggio P.180 Avanti.

The “extended range special mission” Beechcraft King Air 360ER aircraft features flight characteristics required to address special mission requirements, introduced at the Paris Air Show in June 2005. Features engine nacelle fuel tanks, heavy duty landing gear and increased maximum take-off weight of 7,484 kg (16,500 lb). Typical mission profile involves a 100 n mile (185 km; 115 mile) flight to on-station; low-altitude surveillance sortie for 7 hours 20 minutes; and return to base with 45 minutes’ fuel reserve. The aircraft can be equipped with a range of payloads, including moving target indicators, synthetic aperture radar, EO/IR (FLIR), streaming video datalink, self-protection systems, and advanced communication systems. The mission equipment for the Nigerian version is expected to include a belly-mounted Selex Seaspray 7500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and an L3 WESCAM AN/AAQ-35 EO/IR turret known as the MX-15HDi.

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