The Tunisian Air Force will be boosting its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability with four Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft.
The aircraft will be delivered by Textron Aviation under a contract awarded to the company by ATI Engineering Services.
ATI Engineering Services will modify and equip the aircraft with an electro-optical/infra-red sensor, operator console, tactical radio, video data link and night vision compatible lighting.
Since 2014, the US Government has provided grant aid funding for 16 Grand Caravan EX aircraft procured through Foreign Military Sale cases throughout Africa, with Tunisia being the latest recipient.
These are the first Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft for the Tunisian Air Force.
The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) intent is to field multiple iterations of this configuration throughout Africa, and to streamline logistics support and enhance partner nation interoperability, both of which is expected to reduce costs to the partner nation and to the US government.
African countries currently operating Grand Caravan EX aircraft include Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
“The fleet of Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprops will aid the Tunisian Air Force in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the country,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation. “The aircraft is engineered for challenging missions, high payloads and short, unimproved runways, while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity. It is a perfect match for this mission throughout Africa.”
The Tunisian ISR aircraft will be based on the Cessna Caravan platform that has seen more than 2,900 aircraft delivered. Caravans fulfill roles for multiple missions, ranging from flight training to recreation, commuter airlines to VIP transport, cargo carriers and humanitarian missions. The Grand Caravan EX has an output of 867 horsepower and a rate of climb of 1,275 feet per minute.