For years, troops in Afghanistan have been short of some crucial assets: Helicopters, blast-resistant trucks and eyes in the sky. But with the influx of new boots on the ground, the Afghanistan theater has the arrival of more gear.
The newest addition: The MC-12W, the Air Force’s new piloted surveillance plane. According to an Air Force news release, the newest MC-12W – tail number 090623, for all you planespotters out there — arrived two days ago at Bagram Airfield, the main U.S. hub for central and eastern Afghanistan. The aircraft is part of a new unit, the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, which will operate an undisclosed number of the aircraft over Afghanistan.
Like the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, the MC-12W is the result of a crash procurement effort. The surveillance planes are secondhand Hawker Beechcraft C-12s outfitted with full-motion video and signals intelligence sensors. According to Caitlin Harrington of Jane’s, “Project Liberty” is slated to cost just under $1 billion; it will involve the procurement of a total of 37 MC-12Ws, plus the stand-up of intelligence fusion centers on the ground to analyze the data collected by the aircraft.
Article originally published at wired, to read more click view.