CESSNA AIRCRAFT Company announced at Farnborough that it has recently received certification for and is now offering hard point provisions for the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX.
These hard points expand the aircraft’s versatility by allowing operators additional mission capabilities such as extended range with additional fuel tanks, increased cargo space and the ability to configure the aircraft for missions that require armament. The company is displaying a mock-up of a Grand Caravan EX wing with hard points at the Farnborough all this week.
Tom Hammoor, president of Textron Aviation’s defence company, said: “It’s essential that we continue to tailor solutions for our special mission operators’ needs. The hard point wing structure furthers the Grand Caravan EX’s already legendary versatility by adding more mission flexibility to the platform. The Caravan platform is operating in many special mission roles around the world and accounts for a large percentage of our worldwide Caravan fleet.”
Some Cessna 208B Grand Caravans are already in military service, modified as AC-208B Combat Caravans and equipped with weapons pylons under the wings for launching AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. These include the Iraqi Air Force, Lebanese Air Force and UAE Air Force and Air Defence. These, however, were modified after manufacture by specialised contractors. Yesterday’s announcement by Cessna marks the first time the original equipment manufacturer has offered the option of adding hard point provision to the aircraft on the production line. AFM