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Beechcraft C-12 Huron

C-12 Huron
C-12F Huron
Role Military utility aircraft
Manufacturer Beechcraft
Introduction 1974
Status Active service
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Marine Corps
United States Navy
Produced 1974–present
Unit cost
US$6 million
Developed from Beechcraft Super King Air

The C-12 Huron is the military designation for a series of twin-engine turboprop aircraft based on the Beechcraft Super King Air and Beechcraft 1900. C-12 variants are used by the United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. These aircraft are used for various duties, including embassy support, medical evacuation, as well as passenger and light cargo transport. Some aircraft are modified with surveillance systems for various missions, including the Cefly Lancer, Guardrail and Project Liberty programs.


  • Design and development 1
    • C-12J 1.1
  • Variants 2
    • King Air 200-based variants 2.1
    • King Air 350-based variants 2.2
    • Beechcraft 1900-based variant 2.3
  • Operators 3
  • Specifications (Beechcraft C-12 Huron) 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Design and development

The first C-12A models entered service with the U.S. Army in 1974 and was used as a liaison and general personnel transport. The aircraft was essentially an "off-the-shelf" Super King Air 200, powered by the type's standard Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41 engines.[1]

The U.S. Navy followed suit in 1979, ordering a version of the Super King Air A200C (modified with a 52 inch by 52 inch cargo door from the Super King Air 200C), designating it the UC-12B, for logistics support between Naval and Marine Corps air stations, air facilities, and other activities, both in CONUS and overseas. The cabin can readily accommodate cargo, passengers or both. It is also equipped to accept litter patients in medical evacuation missions. Through 1982, the Navy ordered 64 of these aircraft.[1]

A U.S. Air Force variant of the plane for surveillance roles primarily over Afghanistan and Iraq was the MC-12W Liberty. For that variant, Beechcraft built the basic plane and then sent it to Greenville, Texas where sophisticated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment was installed by L-3 Communications Missions Integration.[2] As of 2013 the Liberty program had exceeded 300,000 combat flying hours.[3] The MC-12W was rushed into combat as a supplemental surveillance and signals intelligence asset; since its first combat mission on 10 June 2009, the aircraft flew 400,000 combat hours in 79,000 combat sorties, aiding in the kill or capture of “more than 8,000 terrorists” and uncovering 650 weapons caches. With its roles taken over by the growing MQ-9 Reaper fleet, the Air Force decided to divest itself of the 41 Liberty aircraft and turn them over to the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Command, which will be completed by October 2015.[4] The Air Force's final MC-12W deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom ended on 13 October 2015.[5]


To meet the needs of transporting larger groups, the U.S. Army purchased six C-12J aircraft, based on the Beechcraft 1900C commuter airliner. One of the military C-12Js is used for GPS jamming tests at the 586th Flight Test Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.[6] Another is based at the 517th Airlift Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.[7] Three were based at the 55th Airlift Flight, Osan Air Base, South Korea.[8] They have been relocated to the 459th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan. The remaining two are used by U.S. Army Aviation.[9]

Although the UD- series 1900s were manufactured exclusively for military use, the United States military and other military and government organizations use 1900s from other series such as the UB-series 1900C, and 1900Ds which may be found elsewhere.[9]


King Air 200-based variants

An RC-12N Guardrail Common Sensor aircraft
Used by the U.S. Army for liaison and attache transport. Based on the King Air A200 (serial numbers BC-1 through BC-61, BD-1 and up).
U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps version with an additional cargo door. Based on the King Air A200C (serial numbers BJ-1 and up).
U.S. Navy single-aircraft version, UC-12B BuNo 161311 equipped with four P-3C type Sonobuoy launchers.
U.S. Navy training version developed by conversion of UC-12B airframes.
U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force version of the C-12A with upgraded engines. Based on the King Air A200 (serial numbers BC-62 and up).
U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force version. Based on the King Air A200CT, changes include larger cargo door, "high-flotation" landing gear (a Beechcraft option for larger main landing gear wheels for use on unimproved runways) (serial numbers BP-1, BP-22, BP-24 through BP-51).
Special mission, SIGINT aircraft for the U.S. Army.
Based on the King Air A200CT (serial numbers BP-7 though BP-11).
Upgraded C-12A aircraft for the USAF. 29 C-12As were retro-fitted with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 turboprop engines.
U.S. Air Force transport version. Based on the King Air A200CF (serial numbers BP-52 through BP-63) and the King Air B200C (serial numbers BP-64 and up).
U.S. Navy version of the UC-12F modified with surface search radar.
U.S. Navy version based on the King Air B200C (serial number BU-1 and up, BV-1 and up, BW-1 and up). Cockpit upgraded to Proline 21.
U.S. Army version used for real-time tactical intelligence support under the Crazyhorse program.[10] Based on the King Air A200CT (three aircraft, serial numbers FC-1 and up). Previously operated by U.S. Army Reserve aviation units.
Special mission, battlefield SIGINT aircraft for the U.S. Army.
Three A200s acquired for use in the Cefly Lancer program as RU-21Js. In 1984 the three aircraft modified with new VIP interiors, and returned to the U.S. Army as C-12Ls.[11]
U.S. Navy version. Cockpit upgraded to Proline 21.
U.S. Navy version. Upgraded cockpit instrumentation, plus other systems and structural upgrades.
U.S. Army Guardrail Common Sensor system aircraft.
Off the shelf BE200 modified with EFIS glass cockpit instrumentation.
Upgrade of earlier U.S. Army C-12F versions with improved cockpit instrumentation.
Upgrade of U.S. Army C-12T versions with improved cockpit instrumentation in order to meet global air traffic management directives.
Special mission, battlefield ELINT aircraft. Three A200s were brought by the U.S. Army for use in the Cefly Lancer program in the early 1970s.
Intelligence-gathering platform. 14 ordered, the first delivered to the U.S. Army in January 2011.[12]
Upgraded C-12R with Proline 21 FMS, currently used exclusively in Iraq and Afghanistan

King Air 350-based variants

MC-12W Liberty
U.S. Army version based on the King Air 350, with seating for 8 to 15 passengers and quick cargo conversion capability.
MC-12W Liberty
USAF version modified for the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) role; 8 King Air 350s and 29 King Air 350ERs. In service since June 2009 in Iraq and Afghanistan.[13][14] Currently being transferred to US Army.[15]
U.S. Navy version based on the King Air 350[16]

Beechcraft 1900-based variant

A U.S. Air Force Beech C-12J Huron lands at Yokota Air Base, Japan, on 29 June 2007.
Used by the U.S. Air Force's Pacific Air Forces, and Air Force Materiel Command. It carries 2 crew and 19 passengers. The C-12J is based on the Beechcraft 1900C and carries the serials UD-1 through UD-6.

The Air Force currently operates only 4 C-12Js. 3 are operated by the 459th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan and 1 by the Air Force Materiel Command from Holloman AFB, New Mexico. The Army has C-12Js in use.

Note: The U.S. military also operates other King Air versions under other designations, including the C-6 Ute and T-44 series. In addition, there are a number of Beechcraft 1900s operated by the military under civilian registrations, using their civilian model designations.


 United States

Specifications (Beechcraft C-12 Huron)

Orthographically projected diagram of the Beechcraft King Air B200.

Data from Jane's[17]

General characteristics


See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b "King Air timeline from". Wings over Kansas. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Lifesaving Liberty
  3. ^ Trujillo, Robert M. (8 October 2013). "MC-12W Liberty exceeds 300,000 flying hours". 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Beale AFB farewells MC-12 as spy plane moves to Army and SOCOM -, 25 September 2015
  5. ^ Homecoming: Beale Airmen return from final MC-12W deployment -, 14 October 2015
  6. ^ "Air Force Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson – Home". Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Pike, John (27 April 2005). "C-12J at Global". Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Army aviation web page". Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Pike, John (26 April 2005). "Special Electronic Mission Aircraft listing at". Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Harding, Stephen (1997). U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947. Atglen, PA, USA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd. p. 30.  
  12. ^ "Northrop reveals interest in new upgrade for RC-12X". 14 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Curtain Goes Up on Project Liberty". Air Force Magazine. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Vanden Brook, Tom, "Newest Manned Spy Plane Scores Points In War Effort", USA Today, 2 June 2010, p. 5.
  15. ^ Jennings, Gareth (10 November 2014). "USAF outlines divestiture plans for MC-12W Liberty aircraft". (IHS Jane's Defence Weekly). Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  16. ^ McCoy, Daniel (18 May 2010). "Hawker rolls out first UC-12W". 
  17. ^ Jackson, Paul; Munson, Kenneth; Peacock, Lindsay. Jane's All the World's Aircraft. Jane's Information Group.  

External links

  • C-12 on
  • C-12 on
  • API model application chart, provided variant model basis and serial number ranges
  • MC-12W Liberty ISR Aircraft, USA
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