The first MC-12 aircraft in-theater flies its first combat sortie June 10 from Joint Base Balad, Iraq. A new Air Force medium-altitude manned special-mission turboprop aircraft, the MC-12 provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability and supports coalition and joint ground forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Elizabeth Rissmiller)
The first MC-12 aircraft in-theater lands after its first combat sortie at approximately 6:20 p.m. local time June 10 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The Air Force's newest intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform, the MC-12 is a medium-altitude manned special-mission turbo prop aircraft that supports coalition and joint ground forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tiffany Trojca)
The MC-12W is a medium- to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft. The primary mission is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, support directly to ground forces. The MC-12W is a joint forces air component commander asset in support of the joint force commander.
Features The MC-12W is not just an aircraft, but a complete collection, processing, analysis and dissemination system. The aircraft are military versions of the Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 350 and Super King 350ER. A fully operational system consists of a modified aircraft with sensors, a ground exploitation cell, line-of-sight and satellite communications datalinks, along with a robust voice communications suite.
The aircraft is equipped with an electro-optical infrared sensor and other sensors as the mission requires. The EO/IR sensor also includes a laser illuminator and designator in a single sensor package. The MC-12 system is capable of worldwide operations.
Background The "M" is the Department of Defense designation for a multi-role version of the well known C-12 series. In April 2008, the Secretary of Defense established a DOD-wide ISR Task Force to identify and recommend solutions for increased ISR in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. On July 1, 2008, the Secretary of Defense tasked the Air Force to acquire 37 "C-12" class aircraft to augment unmanned systems. Of note, it was less than eight months from funding approval to delivery in the theater.
The MC-12 capability supports all aspects of the Air Force Irregular Warfare mission (counter insurgency, foreign internal defense and building partnership capacity). Medium- to low-altitude ISR is a core mission for the Air Force.
The first MC-12 arrived at Key Field in Meridian, Miss., April 28, 2009. The first MC-12W flew its first combat support sortie on June 12, 2009.
Primary function: Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Contractor: L-3 Communications Power plant: Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A Wingspan: 57 feet, 11 inches ( 17.65 meters) Length: 46 feet, 8 inches (14.22 meters) Height: 14 feet, 4 inches (4.37 meters) Weight: 12,500 pounds empty (5,669 kilograms) Maximum Takeoff Weight:350, 15,000 pounds; 350ER, 16,500 pounds Fuel capacity:350, 3,611 pounds (1,638 kilograms); 350ER, 5,192 pounds (2,355 kilograms) Speed: 312 knots Range:350, 1,500 nautical miles; 350ER, approximately 2,400 nautical miles Ceiling: 35,000 feet (10,668 meters)
Armament: none Crew: Two pilots and two sensor operators Initial operating capability: June 2009 Unit cost: $17 million (aircraft and all communications equipment modifications) Inventory: Active force, 42; Reserve, 0; ANG, 0
Point of Contact Air Combat Command, Public Affairs Office; 130 Andrews St., Suite 202; Langley AFB, VA 23665-1987; DSN 574-5007 or 757-764-5007.