Leonardo-Finmeccanica to supply King Air surveillance aircraft to African customer


Leonardo-Finmeccanica has been contracted to supply two Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft equipped with its ATOS mission system to an African customer, the company announced on Monday at the Farnborough air show.

The ATOS (airborne tactical observation and surveillance) mission system will be complemented by a suite of sensors including the Leonardo Seaspray AESA (active electronically scanned array) surveillance radar, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder and interrogator, Link 11 datalink and an integrated mission management system. The aircraft will be used for maritime surveillance.

Leonardo will be the prime contractor and will provide all aircraft modifications and clearances and will own the design, development, integration and installation of mission equipment. Leonardo will also conduct ground and flight testing prior to delivery and will work with a third party company in-country to provide support services and knowledge transfer.

This is the third customer to have been provided with an ATOS system fitted to a Beechcraft King Air which has previously been selected by nations including Ecuador, Leonardo said, adding that its ATOS system has been supplied for more than 50 aircraft and installed on 10 different platform types, including with Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s Coast Guard and Australian Customs.

With an endurance, or time on station, of more than 5 hours, the Beechcraft 350ERs will be used for a number of roles including maritime surveillance, search and rescue and marine pollution detection.

The Seaspray 7300E radar is from Leonardo’s AESA (E-Scan) surveillance radar family, in use with military forces and coast guards worldwide including in the US and Australia. Seaspray is mounted underneath the Beechcraft 350ER, providing 360 degree coverage.