Pilatus PC-12 Eagle/Spectre
At the Dubai Air Show in Nov 1995, Pilatus unveiled the PC-12 EAGLE, an aircraft, designed to reduce the cost of high-quality surveillance. Cruising at speeds up to 250 KTAS and with an endurance up to eight hours, the PC-12 EAGLE, pressurised for high altitude survey, is certified for operations at 30,000 ft. The 14 ft 9 in long modular sensor payload underbelly pod can house several sensor systems. In addition, the aircraft can be fitted with Infra-Red / Electro-Optic (IR/EO) Sensors, Infrared Line Scanners, Multi-Spectral Sensors and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The SAR mode provides real time, all weather, high resolution imaging of large surveyed areas enabling operations such as detailed landscape analysis, monitoring of forest and agriculture, classifying trees and assessment of environmental damage. Long-range sensors such as COMINT and ELINT also form part of the EAGLE's payload.
The aircraft can be configured with one to three workstations, depending on system requirement, and an additional seat for an observer/instructor. The consoles provide multi-sensor fusion information and complex graphic overlays combined with digital maps for tactical situation awareness on high-resolution colour LCD monitors.
On 24 July 03 at the annual Airborne Law Enforcement Association meeting, Pilatus Aircraft decided to announce the PC-12 Spectre, a new special mission version of their PC-12 single engine turboprop utility/executive. Designed to operate as a covert multi-mission surveillance aircraft, the Spectre is based on the PC-12/45 airframe.
The Spectre is capable of a 270kt dash capability as well as being able to remain on station for 8 hours. At the rear of the aircraft’s fuselage is a retractable sensor platform which can be fitted with a variety of sensor, such as the FLIR Systems Star Safire II or III Electro-optical/Infra Red system and the multi-sensor Wescam MX-15 system. The pressurised cabin houses an operators station with room for a variety of displays, recorders and radios.
Both the Eagle and Spectre are available to a wide variety of civilian and military operators, equipped to suit specific mission requirements and can offer an impressive capability housed in an unassuming civilian aircraft.