October 1, 2008:
Iraq is installing sensor electronics in
their Beechcraft King Air 350ER reconnaissance aircraft. These are twin
turboprop aircraft, weighing 7.5 tons each and capable to spending eight hours
in the air per sortie. The 350ERs are equipped like a recon UAV, with over a
ton of day/night cameras and a radar. Also carried are electronic monitoring
equipment. The Lynx II radars being installed are also used in U.S. Predator
UAVs. These radars have a max range of 30 kilometers. These are Synthetic
Aperture Radars, which can display a realistic picture of what's down there.
The 350ER aircraft will also have long range day/night video cameras. There is
also communications gear that enables radar or vidcam images to be sent to
ground stations, or even police or troops with laptops equipped to capture and
display this data. The Iraqis will use their five 350ERs for border patrol,
including maritime patrol in and around their offshore oil facilities.