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In this photo of N46L, a Beech A200 Super King Air owned by Dynamic Aviation, there is a large pod attached to the belly with what looks like two largish ports or windows on the underside. What is it, exactly? It looks similar to a synthetic aperture radar pod or video surveillance package, but I was curious if anyone could ID it precisely.

Pod on underside of King Air

The full photo is available at http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto_new.php?id=7118680.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Looking at the full photo, it appears there's also a non-standard installation on the belly aft of the pod and possibly something other than a pitot tube on the right upper part of the nose. $\endgroup$ – Terry Sep 25 '15 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ Good catch--if anyone knows what those are I'd like to know! $\endgroup$ – John Wiseman Sep 25 '15 at 20:05
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Short answer

It seems to be a US Army CEASAR pod, a communication intercepting and jamming system for electronic warfare, which has been flown in Iraq and Afghanistan. CEASAR is derived from AN/ALQ-227 EA used by US Navy on the EA-18G Growler.

The aircraft is equipped with missile detection and countermeasures. Two sensors are below the cockpit windscreen, two other on the aft fuselage. The chaff is released by a dispenser aft of the pod.

N40R is N46L's sister aircraft, and it also carries a CEASAR pod. The A200 variant used may be a C12-A or a C-12C (this is the model number visible on N40R fuselage). They are also known as Huron and HC-12.

High definition photo of N46R:

High definition photo of N46R
Photo by Keith Newsome on photobucket (source)

Detailed answer below.


About CEASAR

From Stars and Stripes:

The CEASAR, which stands for communications electronic attack with surveillance and reconnaissance, is a rectangular metal box that holds technology capable of both knocking out cell phones and radios and intercepting transmissions, while an electronic warfare officer onboard speaks directly to troops on the ground. It’s precise enough to cover friendly soldiers while jamming insurgents, but not knocking out communications for an entire village near a given operation.

Air crew disembarking the aircraft

From matthewaid.com:

Contractors Continue Flying CEASAR SIGINT Aircraft in Afghanistan

The CEASAR system mounted in these contractor-owned and government-operated (COGO) aircraft is based on the Raytheon AN/ALQ-227 EA system as fitted to the US Navy’s (USN’s) Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare (EW) aircraft. It is designed to provide both a communications jamming and an intercept/monitoring capability.

Manoeuvring aircraft

CEASAR UAV replacement

Flying CEASAR on a modified A200 was already very much cheaper than using a pod on a fighter. However like for other functions, military are looking at using unmanned aircraft. The NERO pod has been designed for this purpose.

From Defense Systems:

NERO jams aboard a drone in Army test

The Army recently tested a jammer called the Networked Electronic Warfare Remotely Operated, or NERO, attached to a Gray Eagle unmanned combat aircraft at the Great Salt Lake Desert at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

NERO drone on the ground


Missile Warning System AN/AAR-47

Closer view (N40R):

Aircraft cockpit exterior, showing the sensor stalks

It detects infrared or radio sensing from a missile and commands a response, e.g. release of chaff or flare using the countermeasures dispensing system aft of the pod.

Two other sensors are located on the aft fuselage.

Sensor detail on another aircraft:

Close-up of sensor
(source)


About the aircraft

From FAA, King Air A200, CN BC-1 thru BC-61 are variant C-12A used by US Army.

From JetPhotos.net this aircraft is used under call-sign Grizzly 23:

Registration: N46L
CN: BC-56
'Grizzly 23' taxies for departure to Wick.this is one of a number of aircraft owned by Dynamic that operate on behalf of the US Army.

There are two C-12 aircraft equipped with CEASAR. The other is registered N40R, with call-sign Grizzly 12:

N46L and N40R on the ground
(source)

Huron are seconded or being replaced by Dash 8.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Excellent job tracking that down, thanks! $\endgroup$ – John Wiseman Sep 26 '15 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent answer yet again! In my opinion, one of the best on this site! $\endgroup$ – dalearn Apr 8 '18 at 22:28

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