26 September 2016
Cessna Caravan ISR (photo : Zane Adams)
On 21 September, the US DoD awarded Cessna, a Textron company, a $24 million contract for six 208B GRAND CARAVAN EX aircraft, plus three spare Pratt & Whitney PT-6A-140 engines and associated spares and ground handling equipment to US Africa Command and Pacific Command Areas of Responsibility, to support counterterrorism capabilities in Cameroon, Chad and the Philippines.
Configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, the aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by September 2017. The award follows two contracts concluded in May this year for modification of CARAVANs to an ISR configuration: $14.2 million to L-3 Communications – Communication Systems West, for ISR equipment and spares; $40 million to North American Surveillance Systems for aircraft modification and systems integration, training and field support.
Previous recipients of similarly modified aircraft to support counter-terrorism operations include Niger, Kenya and Mauritania (one aircraft each in 2014) and Uganda (two aircraft in 2015). Niger also received two CARAVANs in 2013, configured for transport tasks and donated by DoD, while Mauritania received an additional two in 2014 to assist in maritime crime prevention and counter-terrorist operations.