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USAF deploys MC-12W Liberty aircraft in Afghanistan
Posted On: Jul 13, 2010
An MC-12 lands after a surveillance mission in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Photo: US Air Force.
The 30th MC-12W Liberty surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft was recently deployed to the US Central Command area of responsibility (USCENTCOM AOR) in Afghanistan.
"We mobilised a significant industry base and every resource at our disposal, and delivered the first Federal Aviation Administration-certified aircraft in six months and three weeks, it began flying combat sorties in less than eight months." Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, the deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance at Headquarters Air Force said in USAF news release.
"This was an extraordinary team effort by a hand-picked, incredibly dedicated industry and Air Force team, the MC-12W is the fastest weapons system delivered from concept to combat since the P-51 Mustang in World War II," he added.
The MC-12W is a medium- to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft and its primary mission is to provide ISR support directly to ground forces.
Till date, MC-12 fleet has flown for more than 5,000 combat sorties and had taken more than 22,000 hours of full-motion video and approx 40,000 images.
The MC-12W aircraft are military versions of the Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 350 and Super King 350ER of US Air force.
The aircraft is equipped with electro-optical infrared sensor (EO/IR), which includes a laser illuminator and designator in a single sensor package. The aircraft has a fully operational system, which consists of a modified aircraft with sensors, a ground exploitation cell, line-of-sight, satellite communications data-links, and a robust voice communications suite.
The MC-12 capability supports all aspects of the US Air Force Irregular Warfare mission -- counter insurgency, foreign internal defence and building partnership capacity -- and is capable of worldwide operations.
The US Central Command (USCENTCOM) in Afghanistan has received the entire operational fleet of 30 aircraft in only 13 months.
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