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US to provide C408 SkyCourier to FMS customers

The C408 SkyCourier seen making its maiden flight in May 2020. The US is to provide the twin-engined airlifter to foreign allied nations as part of a wider IDIQ award of Textron platforms. (Textron)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is to provide the Cessna C408 SkyCourier twin-turboprop to Foreign Military Sale (FMS) customers as part of a wider light transport aircraft award for allied nations.

The C408, which to date has no military customers, is part of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) award that the DoD is to make for a range of Textron light transport and liaison aircraft that also includes the Beechcraft B200 and B300 King Air, as well as the Cessna C208 Grand Caravan.

“The United States Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and the Fixed Wing Project Office (FWPO), anticipate a potential requirement to satisfy the procurement of civilian fixed-wing turboprop-type aircraft. This effort is in direct support of FMS cases,” the DoD said in its amended notification posted on 9 December.

“The objective requirement is to develop an IDIQ to provide ‘on-demand' ordering capability as dictated by FMS case requirements,” the department added. The DoD did not provide aircraft numbers, or contract values.

The C408 made its maiden flight in May 2020, and to date has been ordered only by FedEx in the commercial domain. The aircraft is a high-wing, fixed-undercarriage design capable of rough field operations in austere environments. Cessna's performance data gives the C408 a maximum payload of 6,000 lb (2,722 kg), the ability to carry 19 passengers, a maximum cruise speed of 200 KTAS, a service ceiling of 25,000 ft, and a range of 900 n miles (1,667 km) or 400 n miles with a 5,000 lb payload.

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