The 30th and final King Air 350-based MC-12W Liberty ISR aircraft has been delivered to the USAF just 13 months after the contract for the fleet was signed.
The aircraft, developed under an urgent operational requirement, is the fastest weapons system delivery from concept to combat since the P-51 Mustang of 1943.
“We mobilised a significant industry base and every resource at our disposal, and delivered the first Federal Aviation Administration certified aircraft in six months and three weeks,” said Lt Gen David Deptula, the deputy chief of staff for the USAF’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance office. “It began flying combat sorties in less than eight months.”
The aircraft feature sensors and datalinks designed to provide ISR support to ground forces, and have proven invaluable since being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.