Raytheon Beech RC-12


The Beech RC-12D was an adaptation of the business class Super King Air 200B and replaced the earlier version designated as the Beech RU21H. A large number of these aircraft were acquired by the US Army and deployed with various elements of the Army Security Agency (ASA) for battlefield electronic reconnaissance. The aircraft are used for COMINT and D/F duties and are equipped with the fully automated ‘Guardrail V’ system which relays data to ground stations via a data-link. The aircraft also carries an ECM system.


The latest version, the RC-12Q, introduces a satellite relay function between participating ‘Guardrail’ units. Operating as a ‘mother ship’ to surrounding RC-12P aircraft, the RC-12Q receives data from the other aircraft and, together with it’s own data, relays it via satellite to a ground station where operators remotely control the aircraft’s bank of receivers. The ground operators can also uplink flightpath and frequency changes to the aircraft - very little processing is carried out on the aircraft. A crew of 2 pilots flies the aircraft which have frequently been deployed to areas of conflict, such as Kosovo. Around 60 RC-12’s have been delivered to the US Army over the years.

Israel's RC-12D and B200

Israel operates a number of RC-12D’s flown by 191 Tayeset from Sde Dov and uses them to monitor the surrounding Arab states. In the IDF/AF the RC-12D is known as the Kokiya (Cuckoo) and the first aircraft were delivered in 2000 with tip tanks. Another 8 aircraft are on order and the first should be delivered in Nov 2002.