The E-9A is a twin turboprop used as a surveillance platform to ensure the Gulf of Mexico waters are clear of civilian boaters and aircraft during live missile launches and other hazardous military activities. The E-9A provides support for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and operational testing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

The E-9 is a short- to medium-range turboprop that is frequently used in short-haul regional airline operations in its civilian capacity. With its short take off and landing capability, the E-9 is uniquely suited to its Air Force mission. Its capabilities are airborne ocean surface surveillance, telemetry recording and relay

Modified with AN/APS-143(V) -1 Airborne Sea Surveillance Radar to detect objects in the Gulf of Mexico, the aircraft can detect a person in a life raft up to 25 miles away in the water. It downlinks this telemetry data to the range safety officer who determines the shoot area for live-fire activity.

The aircraft has a fixed antenna array that receives and records telemetry from test and drone vehicles flying over the Gulf of Mexico. It has the capability to relay two airborne UHF frequencies over the horizon to ground sites.

The Bombardier Dash 8, formerly Canadian De Havilland, was launched in 1980 as a larger successor to the UV-18A Twin Otter, and a more fuel-efficient and advanced technological alternative to the RC-7 Airborne Reconnaissance - Low.

The modified civilian Dash-8 came into service in 1988 to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group and has supported the Weapon System Evaluation Program at nearby Eglin AFB, Fla., with sea surveillance radar and telemetry data collection since that time.

Among the program supported by the E-9 are proof of concept for the advanced cruise missile, the Navy Fjord missile program, and F-22 Raptor live missile testing.

The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron located at Tyndall AFB, has the only E-9A aircraft in the Department of Defense inventory. The squadron is a subordinate unit of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall AFB. The 53rd WEG reports to the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla.

General Characteristics
Primary function: Airborne telemetry support
Prime Contractor: Bombardier
E-9A Modification Contractor: Sierra Research
Power plant: Two Pratt & Whitney PW-120A turboprop engines 
Thrust: 1,800 shaft horsepower per engine
Wingspan: 85 ft. (25.9 meters)
Length: 73 ft.  (22.280 meters)
Height: 24 ft. 6 in. (7.467 meters)
Weight: 34,500 pounds (15,640 kilograms)
Maximum takeoff weight: 34,500 pounds (15,649 kilograms)
Fuel capacity: 5,600 pounds (2,540 kilograms)
Payload: 697 pounds (316 kilograms)
Speed: 280 mph (.367 Mach)
Range: 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers)
Ceiling: 30,000 ft 
Cost (modified): $16.5 million
Crew: 4 (two pilots, two mission operators)
Initial operating capability: June 1988
Inventory: Active force, 2; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0