The Department of National Defence says it’s paying almost double the sticker price on three surveillance aircraft because it ordered improvements on the original design. In a statement to the Ottawa Citizen, DND said it’s paying more than $60 million each for three MC-12W aircraft from Textron. The planes are based on a King Air 350 and include various sensors for visual and electronic snooping. The U.S. Air Force says it pays about $23 million each for its MC-12Ws but the Canadian government signed a deal for $188 million for three planes last April.
DND told the Citizen that Canada wanted the bigger engines and a more modern cockpit. “As such, the cost for this new variant of the aircraft is higher than previous models,” the statement said. The price also includes two years of field service support and all the technical data required to allow the government to get bids from Canadian companies for long-term maintenance of the planes. Requests for proposals are going out to Canadian maintenance companies this year.