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Orbital ATK AC-208 Eliminator

United States (2008)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Orbital ATK AC-208 Eliminator Close-Air Support (CAS) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 1/3/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Orbital ATK AC-208 Eliminator  
Picture of Orbital ATK AC-208 Eliminator Close-Air Support (CAS) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft
Picture of Orbital ATK AC-208 Eliminator Close-Air Support (CAS) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft

Orbital ATK based its AC-208II Eliminator on the existing AC-208 attack platform line - itself based on the Cessna Caravan.

The Orbital ATK AC-208II "Eliminator" is another entry into the growing field of Close-Air Support (CAS), light attack platforms with a secondary over-battlefield role of Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR). Such aircraft are tempting purchases for budget-minded air services due to their relatively low up-front procurement cost and reduced long-term maintenance / cost commitments. The AC-208II is a modified offshoot of the Cessna Caravan (Model 208) by Cessna / Textron Aviation and stands as the Block II version of the turboprop-powered AC-208 "Armed Caravan" / "Combat Caravan" with broadened tactical value.

The original Armed Caravan form has been flying since 2008.

The aircraft takes on a relatively unique form with its high-mounted wing mainplanes offering excellent lift and short-field operation. The nose section houses the engine fit, a single Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) turboprop of 675 horsepower driving a three-bladed propeller unit, just ahead of the side-by-side seating cockpit. The tail unit is conventional with a single vertical plane and low-set horizontal surfaces. The undercarriage is of a tricycle arrangement.
This military-certified aircraft is equipped with a High-Definition (HD) MX-15HD series EO/IR sensor and is a complete self-contained search, tracking and engagement machine. It can operate in day or night environments within reach of friendly forces on-the-ground and keep a watchful eye on enemy movements and established positions. The aerial system comes complete with a missile warning and countermeasures suite for enhanced survivability over the battlefield. The AC-208II is outfitted to carry up to 4 x AGM-114 "Hellfire" air-to-surface missiles, a one-time tank-killing weapon seen on the Hughes "Apache" series of attack helicopters, under its wing mainplanes (two per wing on dual-rail fittings). Available weapons stations also support 2.75" (unguided) seven-shot rocket pods (one pod per wing). The aircraft is equipped with Orbital ATK's own advanced targeting and Fire Control System (FCS) and the cockpit features armor to protect the crew during low-level fly bys in contested airspace.

The nations of Iraq and Libya both operate the AC-208 series aircraft with Afghanistan set to take on its first (of seven) examples (by way of the United States Air Force) some time in 2018.
Orbital ATK AC-208II Eliminator Specifications
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United States
Year: 2008
Status: Active, Limited Service
Type: Close-Air Support (CAS) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Orbital ATK - USA
Production: 50
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 2
Length: 37.57 ft (11.45 m)
Width: 52.10 ft (15.88 m)
Height: 14.93 ft (4.55 m)
Empty Weight: 4,729 lb (2,145 kg)
MTOW: 8,818 lb (4,000 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) turboprop engine developing 675 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller at the nose.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 214 mph (345 kph; 186 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,243 mi (2,000 km; 1,080 nm)
Service Ceiling: 24,606 ft (7,500 m; 4.66 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,235 ft/min (376 m/min)

4 x AGM-114 "Hellfire" air-to-surface missile (twin-rail launchers) OR 2 x 2.75" unguided rockets in seven-shot pods held underwing.

Operators List
Afghanistan; Iraq; Libya

Series Model Variants
• AC-208 "Armed Caravan" / "Combat Caravan" - Base Series Name.
• AC-208II "Eliminator" - Block II variant

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