Leonardo-Finmeccanica has been selected to supply two Beechcraft King AIR 350ER aircraft, including their mission systems and sensor load-outs, for an African customer.
The aircraft will be equipped with the company’s ATOS (airborne tactical observation and surveillance) mission system and a suite of sensors including the Leonardo SEASPRAY AESA surveillance radar, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder and interrogator, LINK 11 datalink and an integrated mission management system. Leonardo will be the prime contractor, reflecting the trend towards a surveillance aircraft’s sensors and systems being seen by customers as the most important assets behind the successful delivery of a mission.
The company will provide all aircraft modifications and clearances and will own the design, development, integration and installation of mission equipment. Leonardo will also conduct ground and flight testing prior to delivery and will work with a third party company in-country to provide support services and knowledge transfer.
This is the third customer to have been provided with an ATOS system fitted to a Beechcraft King AIR which has previously been selected by nations including Ecuador. With an endurance, or ‘time on station’, of more than five hours, the Beechcraft 350ERs will be used for a number of roles including maritime surveillance, search and rescue and marine pollution detection.
A key part of the aircraft’s load-out is the ATOS mission system, which brings together and fuses data from the various sensors carried by the aircraft to provide a clear and easily understandable situational picture for operators. More than 50 ATOS systems are installed and in-service worldwide, including with Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s Coast Guard and Australian Customs. ATOS has also been selected for the Italian MoD for the ATR72.
The equipped SEASPRAY 7300E radar is from Leonardo’s AESA (E-Scan) surveillance radar family, in use with military forces and coast guards worldwide including in the US and Australia. Seaspray is mounted underneath the Beechcraft 350ER, providing 360 degree coverage and will use its small target detection mode to spot tough targets in rough sea conditions.