The US Army has contracted Raytheon to provide two refurbished Beechcraft utility transport aircraft as surveillance aircraft to Egypt.
Raytheon was awarded the US$24 million contract on the first of this month, Defence Industry Daily reports. Raytheon will refurbish the airframes, add special mission equipment and provide spare parts, accessories and services to Egypt under the contract.
The work is expected to be completed by July 31 next year.
Raytheon will most likely use the Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200/300 platform, rather than new King Air 350s as used by Iraq and the United States.
The King Air is a commonly used surveillance aircraft and is operated by Malta as a maritime patrol aircraft and by private firms such as ASSI and Dynamic Aviation. The United States uses Beechcraft 1900 and Super King Airs as reconnaissance and signals intelligence aircraft in the form of the RC-12 series.
The aircraft can be fitted with a variety of surveillance equipment, including synthetic aperture radar, a ground moving target indicator (GMTI), electro-optical/infrared sensors, electronic support measures (ESM) systems etc. Much of these electronics are mounted in a fairing under the fuselage.
The Egyptian Air Force currently operates more than half a dozen Beechcraft 1900s as transport aircraft.