Air International 2014-11
D.Isby - The Future of Liberty /Military/
The US Air Force plans to start a three-year process of moving all except eight (to be transferred to the US Army) of its 41 MC-12W Liberties to Air Force Special Operations Command in the current FY2015.
US Army RC-12X Guardrail 93-0701 at Leeds Airport, Yorkshire during a transit stop in February 2013. The aircraft was originally delivered as an RC-12P and was subsequently upgraded to RC-12Q (in 2011) and RC-12X configuration.
The RC-12X is the latest version of the Guardrail system. It uses a new Northrop Grumman multisensor suite and was first deployed to Afghanistan in February 2011.
The US Army is planning to supplement the Beechcraft-Boeing RC-12S Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System with 14 operational Beechcraft RC-12X Guardrails shown here.
MC-12W Liberty 09-0642 at Beale Air Force Base, California on September 22, 2014 following a 6,500 nm trip back from Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan
MC-12Ws prepare for a training flight from Beale Air Force Base in California.
Sixteen of the US Army’s 44 current multi-variant RC-12 Guardrails will be modified to RC-12X standard. The fleet already includes some aircraft upgraded to X-model configuration.
In its FY2015 budget proposal, the US Air Force plans to transfer 33 MC-12Ws to US Special Operations Command to replace the Pilatus-built U-28A.