Beechcraft Corporation,a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, announced today during the Farnborough International Airshow that it has launched a new demonstrator dedicated to showcasing the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of its Baron G58 piston-engine aircraft.
“There’s a great need from law enforcement agencies around the world for a light ISR platform that offers the needed performance and capabilities at an affordable price point,” said Dan Keady, vice president, Special Missions. “The Baron is uniquely suited to offer a balance of high dash speeds, long endurance, state-of-the-art avionics, exceptional flying and handling qualities, a rugged airframe and low operating costs.”
The demo aircraft is scheduled to begin its tour in North America this month with its first stop at the Airborne Law Enforcement Association Expo July 16-19 in Phoenix, Ariz. The aircraft will also attend the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) Aug. 12-14 in Brazil to begin a tour of South America, before completing the year with a tour throughout the UK and Europe.
Beechcraft has long served the ISR markets with its range of King Air turboprops and first introduced a version of its twin-engine piston Baron G58 aircraft with ISR capabilities in 2012 at the Farnborough International Airshow. The company delivered the first Baron G58 with an ISR package in 2013 to the Fuerzas Unidas de Rápida Acción (FURA), an agency within the Puerto Rico Police Department that uses the aircraft for law enforcement surveillance missions within the region.
The Baron G58 ISR package includes a FLIR 230-HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera system, an operator’s console that houses the mapping/mission management computer, a recorder and a multi-band communications radio system and data link for special mission operators. The 230-HD EO/IR camera has the ability to virtually see both day and night, over land and water, in both good and poor weather. The mission mapping system provides the camera operator with a visual representation of the target location. The multi-band communications radio gives the flight crew and the sensor operator the ability to communicate directly with the military, police vehicles, coast guard and other maritime vessels and the recorder provides court admissible evidence for prosecution.
All of the surveillance mission equipment for the Beechcraft Baron G58 ISR is commercially available. While the physical integration of the mission sensors to the airframe is highly specialized, the mission package integration is done without customized software, making it easy to troubleshoot and maintain in the field.