US green lights Kazakhstani King Air B300ER Scorpion purchase

The US State Department announced on December 23 that it has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of two King Air B300ER Scorpion intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to Kazakhstan.

Approval of the potential deal, worth an estimated US$128.1m, was announced in a media release by the State Department’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), after it had notified the US Congress. The deal includes two Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) King Air B300ER Scorpion aircraft, which will be delivered to the Kazakhstani government outfitted with a number of ISR-relevant mission systems.

King Air B300ER Scorpion [SNC]
The US State Department approved the possible FMS of two Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) King Air B300ER Scorpion ISR aircraft to Kazakhstan on December 23, 2020. Sierra Nevada Corporation

Also included in the deal are three Raytheon AST TITAN communications intelligence (COMINT) sensor suites; three Leonardo Osprey 30 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars; three WESCAM MX-15HDi electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turrets and three SNC-produced Small SWAP auto electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems. The possible FMS also includes secure communications; fixed and transportable ground control stations; publications; aircraft and equipment spares/repair parts; personnel training and platform integration support services.

In the media release, the DSCA said: “The proposed sale will improve Kazakhstan’s capability to meet current and future threats by improving its capability to deter regional threats and conduct border security operations. Kazakhstan will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and services into its armed forces.”

SNC, operating from Hagerstown, Maryland, will be the principal contractor for this possible FMS. No offset agreements have been proposed in connection with this potential sale. A product of SNC, the Scorpion is an adaptable multi-role special mission aircraft that is designed to conduct search and rescue (SAR), maritime, border surveillance and ISR missions.