Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, said today at the Farnborough International Airshow that the entire product range of Beechcraft and Cessna products are available in special mission configurations. All 20 current production aircraft – including a Special Mission Beechcraft King Air 350ER on display this week in Farnborough, U.K. – fit numerous mission profiles, including aerial survey, air ambulance, flight inspection, aerial surveillance, training and utility transport.
“With the combination of the Beechcraft and Cessna products within Textron Aviation, we now offer the largest proposition of special mission platforms in the industry,” said Dan Keady, vice president, Special Missions. “We have seen a significant growth in special mission activity around the globe and anticipate this market will continue to grow across our aircraft platforms. From our piston-engine Beechcraft and Cessna products up to the largest Citation business jets, we are able to offer our customers an aircraft to fit just about any mission requirement.”
The Beechcraft products, particularly the King Air turboprops, are utilized around the globe in a number of services including air ambulance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), maritime patrol and pilot training, while the Cessna product line lends itself to multiple special mission roles from piston trainers, to the multi-purposed Caravan operating in an air ambulance, cargo, parachute and float plane platforms. The Citation jets are also used in training, flight inspection and air ambulance roles throughout the world.
“There have been a number of factors fueling the special mission business,” Keady said. “Two key factors include advances in on-board technology, which means aircraft such as our turboprops can be used for missions previously requiring larger, more expensive military aircraft. In addition, more organizations are looking to use their business aircraft for multiple roles, which could include using a King Air for executive or utility transport while having the ability to quickly adapt it to an air ambulance configuration, for example.”
This week at Farnborough, the Textron Aviation display includes a specially modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER, which is operated out of Northern Europe and fitted with a unique and flexible mission package that supports search and rescue, fishery inspection, pollution monitoring and seaway/shipping lane surveillance missions. The King Air 350ER was selected for these missions due to its high dash speeds, long endurance, high reliability and low operating cost.