DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Dec. 11, 2012) – Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) today announced at the 2012 Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) expo that it continues to see an increase in interest for special mission aircraft in the Middle East – particularly for surveillance aircraft utilized for oil spill detection, anti-piracy and fisheries protection purposes.
“The Middle East is a key area of focus for HBC, and surveillance and reconnaissance is becoming increasingly important to protect national interests here,” said Dan Keady, HBC senior vice president, Special Missions. “The King Air is well adapted to missions of this kind, with a proven track record across the globe, as well as the ability to operate in the sometimes harsh climate of the region.”
The King Air family continues to lead the turboprop category with more than 70 percent of the market share in the region during the past three years. Current production King Air models include the King Air 350ER, King Air 350i, King Air 250 and King Air C90GTx – all of which can be customized for special mission operations such as the following:
Oil spill detection: Aerial surveillance is a key element in the response to marine oil spills, with aircraft such as the Beechcraft King Air used to assess the location, extent and severity of spills, and to monitor the spread and movement. King Air turboprops are also vital in aiding the deployment and control of marine-based containment and clean-up operations, as well as enabling the protection of threatened coastlines. Observations may be undertaken visually or by the use of surveillance systems – the King Air’s high payload allows installation of modern surveillance systems without substantial internal modifications.
Anti-piracy: A significant escalation in piracy in the region in recent years has meant an increase in guarding against these activities. As a result, anti-piracy patrols have come into force, such as in the Maritime Security Patrol Area within the Gulf of Aden. The ability of the King Air to run lengthy missions with low operating costs is a major advantage in surveillance operations, ensuring that aircraft can operate extended runs without needing to frequently return to base.
Fisheries protection: Fisheries protection divisions have a wide-ranging role, from monitoring for illegal fishing activity in protected waters to disputes between trawlers. Although such forces are chiefly water-based, the use of an aerial element is key in carrying out the reconnaissance required to monitor for and identify incidents.
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is a world-leading manufacturer of business, special mission, light attack and trainer aircraft – designing, marketing and supporting aviation products and services for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide. The company’s headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, Kan., with operations in Little Rock, Ark.; Chester, England, U.K.; and Chihuahua, Mexico. The company leads the industry with a global network of more than 100 factory-owned and authorized service centers. For more information, visit www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.