Raytheon Beech 200 King Air
On 13 Apr 79 the South African Prime Minister, P Botha, announced that the Beechcraft C-12A (Super King Air 200) used by the American Ambassador had been used for reconnaissance activity over South Africa. The aircraft (reg: 60167) had been inspected by members of the South African security services who had discovered a hidden 70mm aerial camera under the pilots seat. They removed and developed the film which showed the aircraft had been systematically photographing large areas of South Africa including various sensitive military installations. South Africa expelled 3 American military attaches and demanded an apology from the USA, which was never given. At the time South Africa was suspected of developing a nuclear capability, in concert with Israel, which was later confirmed. Whether other C-12A aircraft, used for carrying out diplomatic duties, have also been involved in clandestine reconnaissance activity is unknown.
Sri Lanka was known to operate a single Raytheon Beech 200T specially converted for SIGINT duties during the governments lengthy struggle with the Tamil Tigers. The modified Beech 200T (CR-842) was operated by the 8th Light Transport squadron based at Ratmalana in the south of Sri Lanka and was used to monitor the hand-held radios and other communication equipment used by the Tamil Tigers. It is believed the aircraft also had a direction finding capability as well as an infra-red camera mounted in a turret under the forward fuselage.
At the end of 2000 the Sri Lankan government ordered a Raytheon Beech 200 HISAR (Hughes Integrated Surveillance and Reconnaissance System) to further enhance operations against the Tamil Tigers. This aircraft was destroyed during a raid by the Tamil Tigers on the Anuradhapura Air Base on 22 Oct 07.
General Atomics (GA) are currently marketing a Raytheon Beech 200 fitted with its Lynx radar system. The 115lb (52kg) Lynx radar system provides an excellent day/night all-weather reconnaissance, surveillance and target tracking capability for military, civil and commercial customers. The US Army have purchased 3 Lynx radar systems for intsallation on their RC-7B ARL aircraft.
Following the civil war in the former republic of Yugoslavia, the US Army has formed part of the Stabilisation Forces (SFOR) engaged in the hunt for individuals indicted for war crimes in Bosnia, in particular the notorious Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both of whom have been sheltered by sympathisers in Bosina since the end of the war. In support of these operations, the US Army Material Command has deployed a modified C-12C Raytheon Beech 200 operated by a joint team of military and civilian contractors. The C-12 carries an extensive range of intelligence gathering equipment, believed to include a GA AN/APY-8 Lynx SAR/MTI radar and a FLIR/EO turret housing a Wescan 14 system. It is believed that the C-12 can transmit data from its various sensors in near real-time to authorities on the ground.
Another aircraft engaged in the on-going operation to bring Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to justice is this ‘civilian’ King Air 200 (N66000), originally brought into service as a C-12C registered as 78-23130 and now operated by the US Army Communications Electronics Command. The aircraft appears to be fitted with a comprehensive sensor installation under the fuselage, including a FLIR day/night camera system, installed by TRW during the aircraft’s stay at their Moffett Field facility in California. During operations in Bosina this aircraft provides reconnaissance and communications facilities to the various SFOR Special Forces units engaged in hunting down the numerous war criminals still at large in this troubled area.