The RCAF has reached a final deal with the U.S. and Textron to buy three King Air 350ER surveillance aircraft for a total price of $247 million. The aircraft will be equipped with a suite of sensors that can provide real-time data on everything from troop movements to targeting information. The first is expected to be delivered later this year. The planes will be operated by the Special Operations Forces Command and will likely be used mainly for covert operations.
The only aircraft with similar capabilities in the RCAF inventory is the CP-140 Aurora and the King Airs should offer considerably more flexibility in those roles. Most of Canada’s allies fly similar aircraft.