The Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (PAA) took delivery of two Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX and four Cessna T206H Stationair aircraft from the U.S. on Friday, March 31.
Pakistan ordered the six aircraft in April 2016 under a U.S. $14.09 million contract that includes the aircraft as well as a two-year maintenance and support package.
The PAA will use the Grand Caravan EX and Stationair for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) purposes. The Grand Caravan EX can carry 14 persons in its cabin and is designed to operate from unprepared runways, which will be valuable in the Northern Areas and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The Grand Caravan EX has a payload capacity of 1,520 kg. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140 turboprop engine, providing a maximum cruise speed of 361 km/h and ferry range of 1,785 km.
In its MEDEVAC configuration, the Grand Caravan EX can carry two stretchers and five cabin occupants. It can also be equipped for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The Cessna T206H Stationair HD is a smaller aircraft than the Grand Caravan EX. It can carry six occupants and has a payload capacity of 667 kg. The Stationair is powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AJ1A piston engine, providing a maximum cruise speed of 298 km/h and maximum range of 1,302 km. As per Cessna, the Stationair HD can be configured for MEDEVAC, search and rescue (SAR) and ISR roles.
Notes & Comments:
Pakistan has been taking steps to enhance its logistics air-lift capabilities. Alongside Cessna Grand Caravan EX and Stationair aircraft, it has ordered Leonardo AW139 utility helicopters for utility transport, SAR and emergency medical services (EMS) missions. It has also begun implementing its C-130 Fleet Upgrade Program; at the end of March, Rockwell Collins received a contract from the PAF for the Flight2 integrated avionics suite for its 11 C-130E and 5 C-130Bs.
The Grand Caravan EX’s PT6A turboprop could draw from Pakistan’s efforts to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) base for that engine. The Chairman of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) told the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry that PAC’s PT6 MRO plant is open to private sector investment. The Leonardo AW139, Bell 412EP, Beechcraft King Air 350ER and Cessna Grand Caravan EX are powered by different sub-variants of the PT6. Considering that it could serve as an ISR platform, the Grand Caravan EX (and Stationair) could provide Pakistan with additional special mission options.
Cessna and Beechcraft are owned by Textron Aviation, which is a division – along with Bell Helicopters – of Textron.