SOFEX 2018

Caravan gets more firepower [SOFEX18D3]

10 May 2018

Orbital ATK is highlighting a range of its products at SOFEX (Hall 6, Stand B639). Among them is the latest version of its AC-208B Armed Caravan, which was debuted last year. Known as the AC-208 Eliminator, the new aircraft follows on from the earlier Combat Caravan, which was supplied via US Air Force channels to Iraq and Lebanon.

That aircraft was a light attack/ ISR platform based on Cessna’s Caravan utility transport, which could carry a single AGM-114 Hellfire missile under each wing.

Also referred to as the Block 2 Caravan, the Eliminator has a number of enhancements over the earlier aircraft, the most notable of which is the provision of twin-rack launchers for Hellfires under the single wing hardpoint. This doubles the number of weapons that can be carried.

The hardpoints can also carry seven-round 2.75in (70mm) rocket pods, which can launch Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) or similar laser-guided rockets, as well as unguided rockets.

Eliminator’s cockpit integrates a combat-proven avionics suite with large digital screens that display high-definition imagery and route maps. The aircraft is also equipped with high-definition electro-optical/ infrared sensors with integrated laser designator, as well as a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder. The communication requirements are served by beyond-line-of-sight and line-of-sight systems. Other mission systems aboard the aircraft include advanced missile warning systems and countermeasure systems, which increase the survivability of the crew against a range of threats.

In March the company received a contract to provide seven Eliminators to the Afghan air force via US foreign military sales.

Orbital ATK also performed the system integration for Jordan’s two AC-235 light gunships that are based on the Airbus Defence and Space CN235 medium-twin transport.

As well as possessing Hellfire and laser-guided rocket capability, they are fitted with the company’s M230 30mm linkfed chain gun in a side-facing installation.

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