USSOCOM procures ‘highly modified' Dash-8 support aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has procured a ‘highly modified’ De Havilland Canada (DHC) Dash-8 aircraft for special mission support operations.

Seen here in its Radiant Falcon configuration for the US Army, the DHC-8 is becoming increasingly popular as a special mission platform. (Dynamic Aviation)

Seen here in its Radiant Falcon configuration for the US Army, the DHC-8 is becoming increasingly popular as a special mission platform. (Dynamic Aviation)

The command disclosed on 17 June that it had awarded a sole-source contract to Virginia-based Leidos Inc. for the procurement of a single Dash 8, noting, “Leidos is the only source with the product and engineering technical data required to support delivery of an airworthy modified DHC-8 without substantial duplication of cost and schedule based upon previously certified specific DHC-8 configurations delivered to the [US] government.”

No details pertaining to the contract value or delivery timeline were disclosed, and neither did the USSOCOM comment on the aircraft’s mission or configuration.

As previously noted by Janes , Leidos has on past occassions supplied the US Army with Dash-8 aircraft modified for its Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) mission. In its ARL-Enhanced (ARL-E) configuration the aircraft is kitted out with high-resolution, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imaging, digital mapping, and full motion video (FMV), as well as signals intelligence (SIGINT), communications intelligence (COMINT), foliage penetrating (FOPEN) radar, ground moving target indication/synthetic aperture radar (GMTI/SAR), dismount moving target indicator (DMTI), and ground penetrating (GPEN) radar equipment.

Within this ARL-E mission, the Saturn Arch configuration is geared towards neutralising improvised explosive devices (IEDs), while the Desert Owl configuration is an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to simultaneously conduct measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT) missions in near all-weather conditions.

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The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has procured a ‘highly modified’ De Havilland Canada (DH...

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