The C-12 Huron is the military designation for a series of twin-engine turboprop aircraft that are military versions of various versions of the Beechcraft Super King Air. C-12 variants are used by the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the United States Navy. These aircraft are used for various duties, including embassy support, medical evacuation, passenger and light cargo. Some aircraft are modified with surveillance systems for various missions, including the Cefly Lancer and the Guardrail programs.
Design and development
The first C-12A models entered service with the Army in 1974 and was used as a liaison and general personnel transport. The aircraft was essentially an "off-the-shelf" Super King Air 200, powered by the type's standard Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41 engines.
The U.S. Navy followed suit in 1979, ordering a version of the Super King Air A200C (modified with a 52 inch by 52 inch cargo door from the Super King Air 200C), designating it the UC-12B, for logistics support between naval and marine corps air stations and other activities, both in CONUS and overseas. The cabin can readily accommodate cargo, passengers or both. It is also equipped to accept litter patients in medical evacuation missions. Through 1982, the Navy ordered 64 of these aircraft.
The U.S. Army selected the C-12 platform for use as an intelligence-gathering aircraft under the Guardrail series of programs. The Guardrail program uses variants RC-12D, -12H, -12K, -12N, -12P, and -12Q variants. The aircraft's role is as an electronic snooper, listening in for enemy radio transmissions. The aircraft is flown by a flight crew of two, and the missions equipment is operated remotely from a ground control center. Guardrail is a Corps Level Airborne signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection/location system that integrates the Improved GUARDRAIL V (IGR V), Communication High Accuracy Airborne Location System (CHAALS), and the Advanced QUICKLOOK (AQL) systems into the same aircraft platform. Key features include integrated COMINT and ELINT reporting, enhanced signal classification and recognition, fast Direction Finding (DF), precision emitter location, and an advanced integrated aircraft cockpit.
The RC-12D was operated during the 1980s by the 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Eyes of the Jayhawk) located out of Echterdingen Kaserne, at the Stuttgart Airport. The 207th MI brigade deployed with VII Corps to Al Qaisumah Airport, in Saudi Arabia, in December of 1990 in support of Operations Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Calm.[verification needed]
As of 2006, four U.S Army Aerial Exploitation Battalions (AEB) operate these aircraft. The 3rd Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion operates the RC-12D and -12H in South Korea. The 1st Military Intelligence Battalion flies the RC-12K from its base in Wiesbaden, Germany. The 15th Military Intelligence Battalion, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, operates the RC-12P and -12Q models. The 224th Military Intelligence Battalion flies the RC-12N and is based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. The crew training location for these and other Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) is Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Every AEB with the exception of the 3rd MI BN has conducted wartime intelligence collection in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd MI Battalion flies Sensitive Reconnaissance Operation (SRO) missions on the Korean peninsula.
With the advances in technology and advent of tactical UAVs, the Army has announced that it is seeking a replacement for the Guardrail aircraft.
To meet the needs of transporting larger groups, the Army purchased six C-12J aircraft, based on the Beechcraft 1900C commuter airliner. Of the military C-12J's one is used for GPS jamming tests at the 586th Flight Test Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Another is based at the 517th Airlift Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Three were based at the 55th Airlift Flight, Osan Air Base, South Korea. They have been relocated to the 459th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan. The remaining two are used by U.S. Army Aviation.
Although the UD- series 1900s were manufactured exclusively for military use, the United States military and other military and government organizations use 1900s from other series such as the UB-series 1900C photographed above, and 1900Ds which may be found elsewhere.
King Air 200-based variants
- Used by the U.S. Army for liaison and attache transport. Based on the King Air A200 - PT6A-38 engines. (serial numbers BC-1 through BC-61, BD-1 and up).
- Navy version. 66 built. Based on the King Air A200C - PT6A-41 engines. (serial numbers BJ-1 and up). BuNos 161185-161206, 161306-161327, 161497-161518.
- Navy single-aircraft conversion, UC-12B BuNo 161311 equipped with four P-3C Sonobuoy launchers.
- Navy training conversion of UC-12B. 30 converted.
- Army and Air Force version of the C-12A with upgraded engines (PT6A-41). Based on the King Air A200 (serial numbers BC-62 and up).
- Army and Air Force version. Based on the King Air A200CT, changes include larger cargo door, "high-flotation" landing gear (a Beechcraft option for larger main landing gear wheels for use on unimproved runways) (serial numbers BP-1, BP-22, BP-24 through BP-51).
- Based on the King Air A200CT (serial numbers BP-7 though BP-11).
- Guardrail program, used by the Army for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic surveillance missions with the Guardrail V sensor system. Acquired in 1984, based on the King Air A200CT (13 aircraft, serial numbers GR-1 through GR-13).
- Air Force transport version. Based on the King Air A200CF (serial numbers BP-52 through BP-63) and the King Air B200C (serial numbers BP-64 and up).
- Navy version. 12 built. Based on the King Air B200C (serial number BU-1 and up, BV-1 and up, BW-1 and up). BuNos 163553-163564.
- Navy version. Two UC-12F modified with surface search radar and console to act as Pacific Missile Test Center (PMTC) Range Surveillance Aircraft (RANSAC). BuNos 163563-163564.
- Army version used for real-time tactical intelligence support under the Crazyhorse program. Based on the King Air A200CT (three aircraft, serial numbers FC-1 and up).
- Army version, used for Guardrail missions, based on RC-12D, but improved Guardrail V equipment. Acquired in 1988, based on the King Air A200CT (6 aircraft, serial numbers GR-14 through GR-19).
- Army version for Guardrail SIGINT use with improved Guardrail Common Sensor (GRCS) equipment. Also has upgraded engines. Acquired in 1991, based on the King Air A200CT (9 aircraft, serial numbers FE-1 through FE-24).
- Three A200s acquired for use in the Cefly Lancer program as RU-21Js. In 1984 the three aircraft modified with new VIP interiors, and returned to the US Army as C-12Ls.
- Navy version. 12 built. Based on King Air B200C aircraft with upgraded cockpit instrumentation. BuNos 163836-163847.
- Two UC-12M modified with surface search radar and operator console to act as Range Surveillance Aircraft (RANSAC). BuNos 163846-163847.
- Army RC-12K modified with more powerful engines for increased payload, and improved missions systems, acquired in 1994 (15 aircraft used).
- Army RC-12N modified with improved systems, increased takeoff weights. Based on the King Air A200CT (9 aircraft, serial numbers FE-25 and up).
- Army RC-12P with GRCS systems, and modified with a radome mounted on the top of the fuselage (3 aircraft).
- Off the shelf BE200 modified with EFIS glass cockpit instrumentation.
- Upgrade of earlier Army (C-12F) versions with improved cockpit instrumentation.
- Upgrade of C-12T Army version with improved cockpit instrumentation in order to meet global air traffic management directives.
King Air 350-based variants
- Army version based on the King Air 350, with seating for 8 to 15 passengers and quick cargo conversion capability.
Beechcraft 1900-based variant
- Used by Air National Guard, carries 2 crew and 19 passengers. Based on the Beechcraft 1900C (serial numbers UD-1 through UD-6).
Note: The U.S. military also operates other King Air versions under other designations, including the C-6 Ute and T-44 series. In addition, there are a number of Beechcraft 1900s operated by the military under civilian registrations, using their civilian model designations.
Specifications (King Air B200)
The Fairchild C-123 Provider is a twin-engined military transport aircraft produced by the US American manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft, developed by Chase Aircraft.
Propulsion 2 Radial Engines Engine Model Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W Double Wasp Engine Power (each) 1715 kW 2300 hp
Speed 367 km/h 198 kts
Service Ceiling 8.839 m 29.000 ft Range 2.367 km 1.278 NM 1.471 mi.
Empty Weight 13.562 kg 30.000 lbs max. Takeoff Weight 27.216 kg 60.000 lbs
Wing Span 33,53 m 110,0 ft Wing Area 113,6 m² 1223 ft² Length 23,09 m 75,8 ft Height 10,39 m 34,1 ft
- Beechcraft King Air
- Beechcraft Super King Air
- Beechcraft 1900
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Cessna 425
- Cessna 441
- Mitsubishi Mu-2
- Piper PA-31T Cheyenne
- Embraer EMB 121 Xingu
- King Air timeline from Wings over Kansas
- Guardrail details from FAS
- article Death from Above, Strategy Page
- Air Force Fact Sheet
- C-12J at Global Security.org
- Army aviation web page
- Special Electronic Mission Aircraft listing at GlobalSecurity.org
- Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedHarding, Stephen (1997). pp. 30. Schiffer Publishing Ltd..
- DoD 4120-15L, Model Designation of Military Aerospace Vehicles, United States Department of Defense, May 12, 2004
- C-12 on globalsecurity.org
- C-12 on fas.org
- API model application chart, provided variant model basis and serial number ranges
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