Orbital ATK has been awarded a contract to incorporate a gunship capability package into the Lebanese Air Force’s Cessna C-208B Caravan intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.

Awarded by the US Department of Defense, the foreign military sale contract requires the company to add strike capability using the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

As part of the contract, Orbital will also provide contractor logistics support for one year.

Orbital ATK Defence Systems Group Defence Electronic Systems division vice-president and general manager Bill Kasting said: "Orbital ATK’s modified Caravan has a proven track record of reliability, affordability and versatility.

"To date, the operational readiness of Orbital ATK’s modified C-208 aircraft continues to be outstanding, and we have successfully supported international customers for more than four years since the initial fielding of the system."

The gunship capability package is part of the company’s Special Mission Aircraft product portfolio, which offers affordable, responsive and advanced capabilities to customer-preferred platforms, including a roll-on, roll-off palletised approach.

"Orbital ATK’s modified Caravan has a proven track record of reliability, affordability and versatility."

In particular, the solution provides low-cost and highly reliable networked observation and over-watch, border security and counterinsurgency capabilities, which require minimal amounts of personnel and facilities for operation and maintenance.

The company has already modified the Lebanese aircraft by incorporating electro-optical sensor, communications and aircraft self-protection equipment.

The C-208B Caravan is a militarised version of the Cessna 208 Caravan passenger and utility aircraft, and features a more powerful PT6A-114A engine, and electro optical sensors and defensive countermeasures.

The Lebanese Air Force currently operates three C-208B Caravans for close-air support, border surveillance and training, as well as counterinsurgency operations.

Image: A Cessna C-208B Caravan aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Ahunt.