It appears that the Algerian Air Force has ordered six King Air 350ER surveillance aircraft fitted with radar and thermal imaging equipment, for use as maritime and ground surveillance platforms.
The aircraft will be operated by the Algerian Air Force’s 5th Reconnaissance Squadron and will be used to monitor security threats like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other militant groups, according to the African Armed Forces Journal, which last month reported that Algeria was already receiving the aircraft.
In addition to providing maritime surveillance and ground intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), the King Airs can support missions such as the detection of foreign vessels, environmental survey, as well as search-and-rescue.
The King Airs feature a retractable forward-looking infrared camera (Wescam Mx15i), laser illuminator, a Gabbiano 360-degree T-200 air-to-ground radar in a ventral radome and other equipment.
The modified aircraft have an endurance of more than six hours, due to nacelle fuel tanks for extended range.
According to the Journal, the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron plans to operate the King Airs alongside jets, turboprops and unmanned aerial vehicles.
In March this year Selex announced that it had delivered and integrated its airborne tactical observation and surveillance (ATOS) system onto Hawker Beechcraft special mission extended-range (ER) King Air 350 maritime patrol aircraft for “an undisclosed customer,” believed to be Algeria.
“The delivery follows a previous contract awarded to Selex to design and integrate a complete surveillance solution in support of the customer’s maritime patrol aircraft,” Selex said. In July last year it announced that a King Air 350ER with ATOS mission system and sensors was undergoing European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification.