US Approves King Air 350 ISR Aircraft for Kuwait

United States has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of King Air 350ER Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to Kuwait for an estimated cost of $259 million. The acquisition of four Beechcraft King Air 350ER ISR aircraft will enable Kuwait to establish its first dedicated airborne ISR fleet. The medium-to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft have primary mission to provide ISR support directly to ground forces.  Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will modify and integrate the ISR mission systems and sensors known as the Mission Enhancement Kit.

Additionally, one of the four aircraft will be further modified to accommodate VIP/senior leadership personnel for transport and Med Evac capability or command and control, and other related elements of logistical support.

The SNC Mission Enhancement Kit is specifically designed for the King Air 350ER at 16,500 and 17,500 pounds maximum allowable takeoff weight (MTOW), and is specifically developed for military and government operations.

The KA-350ER will be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PT6A-67A engines spinning MT 5-bladed composite propellers.

Although the PT6A-67A will produce a 400 thermodynamic shaft horsepower (SHP) increase over the stock PT6A-60A, the Mission Enhancement Kit will actually reduce the overall weight of the aircraft by about 18 pounds.

The 25-30 percent increase in power, will translates into improved climb and cruise performance for King Air 350ERs especially during operations in high-density altitudes (high, hot).

Main ISR sensors will be a AN/AAQ-35 WESCAM MX-15HDi Electro-Optical & Infrared Imaging Sensor Turret and belly mounted Selex Seaspray 7500E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

The aircraft will be integrated with self protection systems AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (MWS) and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Systems, along with secure communications, cryptographic, and precision navigation equipment; Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Systems, a True Blue Power lithium-ion battery and Advent’s Electronic Anti-Skid Braking (eABS) system.