Beechcraft wins $18.6 million contract follow-on for Iraqi mission

Beechcraft Corp. has been awarded a $18.6 million follow-on contract from the Air Force to continue support of the Iraqi Air Force’s fleet of King Air 350 ER intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft under the Operation Peace Dragon program, the Department of Defense announced.

The contract will provide housing, living quarters, daily essentials and security to a team of about 20 Beechcraft employees supporting the aircraft in Iraq.

The work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2014, the DOD said.

In 2007, Beechcraft, then Raytheon Aircraft Co., won a $132 million Air Force contract to supply six twin-turboprop King Airs for the program, including five intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planes and one transport version.

The company provides ongoing maintenance and other support for the aircraft.

The King Airs were developed for special mission applications.

Planes in the Peace Dragon program have been equipped with heavyweight landing gear, long range nacelle-mounted fuel tanks and have undergone other airframe modifications.

The additional fuel tanks provide the plane with more than eight hours of endurance and a range of 2,400 nautical miles. They are also equipped with radar units built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in San Diego.

According to Defense News, the King Airs can fly above the reach of shoulder-launched missiles and are equipped with countermeasures.