TYPE: Multisensor surveillance turboprop.
PROGRAMME: Announced at Dubai Air Show in November 1995; then named Eagle, but name discontinued in 2002; renamed Spectre in 2003. Second PC-12, HB-FOB converted as demonstrator (first flight October 1995). Second demonstrator HB-FOG (c/n 134) followed in September 1996 with airframe modifications and different equipment and third HB-FOL in 1999. New Spectre version unveiled in 2003.
CURRENT VERSIONS: PC-12M: Multi-mission variant, formerly named Eagle; features enhanced electrical power generator to integrate optional power consuming equipment according to customer requirements. Typical missions include navaid calibration, environmental survey, aerial photography/mapping and medevac, with quick-change facility permitting change of role to cargo, passenger/cargo, VIP transport or medevac in less than three hours. Specific modifications to demonstrator aircraft are as follows:
HB-FOB: Ventral pannier carrying a variety of electro-optical sensors. A sensor management system (SMS) controls and monitors sensors and displays data on two consoles (one electro-optical, one radar, for comint and elint) inside cabin; includes three COTS processors. Consoles have four displays: colour displays for navigation, situational awareness and ESM/IR/TV; and one 325 mm (14½ in) square LCD XGA high-resolution colour display for synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Sensor operator's map display is 'North up', featuring coastlines, rivers, roads and political boundaries.
Sensor options include: (1) WF-160DS turret with FLIR having 7.2 x 9.8° wide field of view and 2.16 x 2.95° narrow field, plus daylight camera with 20 to 280 mm zoom lens; (2) SAR installations of several types, either mechanical or electronically scanned (one or two dimensions, from 45 to 200 cm; 18 to 79 in long, giving up to 36 cm; 14¼ in resolution); and (3) RISTA (Reconnaissance, Infra-red Surveillance, Target Acquisition), derived from US Army's Airborne Minefield Detection System and combining FLIR (for battle damage assessment) and IR linescan (covering a 7 n mile; 13 km; 8 mile ground track) with real-time downlink to ground station.
HB-FOG: Sensors include WF-160DS IR/E-O system with tracker and Geotrack cueing; Raytheon Sea Vue SV 1021 radar with ISAR capability 1997 upgrade for SAR; 1998 upgrade for track-while-scan of 100 targets and MTI on SAR; communications digital datalink; 108 n mile (200 km; 124 mile) range video downlink to ground station; and sensor management system.
In late 2001, HB-FOG was delivered to Gruppe Rüstung of Swiss Defence Procurement Agency and based at Emmen for trials connected with new FLORAKO air defence ground environment. Pannier removed and fintip extension not fitted; standard PC-12 winglets.
HB-FOL: Modified in 1999 as airborne cellphone relay station, with large ventral pannier, ventral strakes and fintip extension.
PC-12 Spectre: Multirole variant; prototype (N146PC), modified and mission equipped by PILBAL of Denver, Colorado. Announced 27 July 2003 at Airborne Law Enforcement Association meeting at Wichita, Kansas, having flown earlier that month. First customer was US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Retains PC-12 capabilities, but additionally incorporates retractable turret beneath the non-pressurised part of rear fuselage for FLIR Systems Safire II, or Safire III or Wescam MX-15 sensors and operator's position in cabin with two display monitors, video recorder and audio communications panel with broadband communications link.
PC-12 M/MRA are also capable of carrying such other sensors as 2 to 18 GHz (optionally 40 GHz) elint, including automatic jammer; forward- and backward-looking sensor management systems; a passive missile warning system, including automatic chaff/flare dispensers or active laser countermeasures; LOROP; radar optimised for land- or sea surveillance; and a bidirectional secure datalink. Pilatus is unable to confirm that schemes for operational employment have included airborne control of a flight of armed PC-9s.
CUSTOMERS: One delivered to Swiss Defence Procurement Agency. Interest from several countries, unconfirmed reports citing Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand. One Spectre to US government.
COSTS: Spectre US$650,000 (2003).
DESIGN FEATURES: FLIR turret at front of ventral pannier; winglets replaced by conventional wingtips on HB-FOB (weather radar in starboard tip pod); undertail strakes enlarged (to maximum depth of 53 cm; 21 in) to maintain stability. HB-FOG fitted 1997 with new 'tiplets' (wingtips with small vertical winglets), newly defined undertail strakes and additional fin area above the elevator, increasing overall height by 48 cm (19 in). HB-FOG and HB-FOL fitted with fintip extensions above tailplane which, with ventral strakes, is mandatory if large ventral pannier is installed. Can undertake various reconnaissance and surveillance missions, but retains ability to revert to passenger and other missions at short notice.