Afghan Air Force AC-208 Combat Caravan Order

An Afghan Air Force (AAF) Cessna 208B Grand Caravan flies over Camp Fenty, Afghanistan, on February 27, 2016. Orbital ATK was awarded a contract yesterday to begin work on the AC-208 Combat Caravan variant for the AAF. USAF/Staff Sgt Corey Hook

ORBITAL ATK has received an order to meet the Afghan Air Force (AAF) Cessna AC-208 Combat Caravan armed intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft requirement.  The firm-fixed-price undefinitized contractual action, valued at $69,368,834, was awarded yesterday, September 1, by the US Air Force’s 645th Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Work will be carried out at the company’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas.  The contract is expected to be completed by November 30, 2018.  An initial $33,990,728 from Afghan Security Forces funds was released at the time of the award to meet this pseudo Foreign Military Sales requirement.

The standard Cessna 208B Grand Caravan is already in service with the AAF for training, transport and liaison duties, but this new deal is to meet a requirement for the procurement of five armed versions of the type.  This will provide an additional aerial weapons capability to meet a capability gap in close air support for ground forces.  The order is a preliminary deal to get work under way pending approval of full funding for the acquisition.

Orbital ATK’s AC-208 has a hardpoint on each wing for launching AGM-114M/K Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, an MX-15D EO/IR sensor turret with integrated laser designator with inertial measurement unit, Orbitak ATK SATR mission system (with STAR compact micro-processor unit, 18in Avedon colour display and integrated fire control system), ballistic panels for cockpit and passenger protection, AAR-47/ALE-47 defensive countermeasures system, data link system, VHF/UHF communications and cockpit tactical displays.