Published March 15, 2012
The diverse Special Operations Command mission requirements generated a need for small numbers of mission specific aircraft which were procured rapidly to address specific mission needs. The Non-Standard Aircraft (NSAv) fleet is a general program term and encompasses several light and medium aircraft performing utility missions for SOCOM. Overall the NSAv mobility fleet untethers special operations forces from robust infrastructures, extended timelines and allows freedom of movement.
The U-28A is part of AFSOC's NSAv fleet, and is operated by the 319th, 34th and 318th Special Operations squadrons. Training is conducted by the 5th and 19th SOS. These units are located at Hurlburt Field, Fla. and Cannon AFB, N.M.
The U-28A provides a manned fixed wing, on-call/surge capability for improved tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in support of special operations forces.
The U-28A is a modified, single-engine Pilatus PC-12 that operates worldwide. The initial block of U-28 aircraft were procured and modified for use in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The U-28A fleet evolved from commercially available aircraft that were purchased and then modified with communications gear, aircraft survivability equipment, electro-optical sensors, and advanced navigation systems. The advanced radio-communications suite is capable of establishing DOD/NATO data-links, full-motion video, data, and voice communications. The U-28A has outstanding reliability and performance, and is certified to operate from short and semi-prepared airfields.
All U-28A aircraft are maintained through contractor logistics support.
Crew: 2 Pilots, 1 Combat Systems Officer, 1 Tactical Systems Officer
Builder: Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
Power Plant: Pratt-Whitney PT6A-67B
Thrust: 1,200 horse power
Wingspan: 53 feet 3 inches (16.23 meters)
Length: 47 feet 3 inches (14.4 meters)
Height: 14 feet (4.25 meters)
Speed: 220 knots
Range: 1,500 nautical miles
Ceiling: 30,000 feet
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 10,935 lbs
Deployment Date: 2006
Unit Cost: $16.5 million
Inventory: Active duty, 28; Reserve/ANG, 0
(Current as of December 2013)