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C-12 Huron

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C-12 Huron
C-12F Huron
Type Civil utility aircraft
Manufacturer Beechcraft
Status Active service
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Marine Corps
United States Navy
Developed from Beechcraft Super King Air

The C-12 Huron is the military designation for a series of twin-engine turboprop aircraft that are military versions of various versions of the Beechcraft King Air. C-12 variants are used by the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the United States Navy. These aircraft are used for various duties, including embassy support, medical evacuation, passenger and light cargo. Some aircraft are modified with surveillance aircraft for various missions, including the Cefly Lance and the Guardrail programs.


The first C-12A models entered service with the 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 suite in 1979, ordering a version of the King Air A200C (modified with a 52 inch by 52 inch cargo door from the King Air 200C), designating it the UC-12B, for logistics support between Navy air stations. 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]


The U.S. Army selected the C-12 platform for use as an intelligence-gathering aircraft under the Guardrail series of programs. The Guardrail program uses variants RC-12D, -12H, -12K, -12N and -12P variants. The aircraft's role is as an electronic snooper, listening in for enemy radio transmissions. The aircraft is flown by a flight crew of two, and the missions equipment is operated remotely from a ground control center. Guardrail is a Corps Level Airborne signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection/location system that integrates the Improved GUARDRAIL V (IGR V), Communication High Accuracy Airborne Location System (CHAALS), and the Advanced QUICKLOOK (AQL) systems into the same aircraft platform. Key features include integrated COMINT and ELINT reporting, enhanced signal classification and recognition, fast Direction Finding (DF), precision emitter location, and an advanced integrated aircraft cockpit.[2]

The RC-12D was operated during the 1980s by the 207th Military Intelligence Battalion (Eyes of the Jayhawk) located out of Echterdingen Kaserne, at the Stuttgart Airport. The 207th MI battalion deployed with VII Corps to Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.[citation needed]

With the advances in technology and advent of tactical UAVs, the Army has announced that it is seeking a replacement for the Guardrail aircraft.[3]


To meet the needs of transporting larger groups, the Army purchased six C-12J aircraft, based on the Beechcraft 1900C commuter airliner. Of the military C-12J's one is used for GPS jamming tests at the 586th Flight Test Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.[4] Another is based at the 517th Airlift Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.[5] Two are based at the 55th Airlift Flight, Osan Air Base, South Korea.[6] The remaining two are used by U.S. Army Aviation.[7]

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 photographed above, and 1900Ds which may be found elsewhere.[7]


King Air 100-based variants

  • C-12L - Base on the A100, acquired for use in the Cefly Lancer program.

King Air 200-based variants

  • C-12A - 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).
  • UC-12B Navy version, with an additional cargo door. Based on the King Air A200C (serial numbers BJ-1 and up).
    • NC-12B Navy single-aircraft version, UC-12B BuNo 161311 equipped with four P-3C Sonobouy launchers.
    • TC-12B Navy training version of the UC-12B.
  • C-12C - Army and Air Force version of the C-12A with upgraded engines. Based on the King Air A200 (serial numbers BC-62 and up).
  • C-12D - Army and 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).
    • FWC-12D - Based on the King Air A200CT (serial numbers BP-7 though BP-11).
    • RC-12D - Guardrail program, used by the Army for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic surveilance missions with the Guardrail V sensor system. Acquired in 1984, based on the King Air A200CT (13 aircraft, serial numbers GR-1 through GR-13).
  • C-12F - 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).
    • RC-12F - Navy version of the UC-12F modified with surface search radar.
    • UC-12F - Navy version. Based on the King Air B200C (serial number BU-1 and up, BV-1 and up, BW-1 and up).
  • RC-12G - Army version used for real-time tactical intelligence support under the Crazyhorse program.[8] Based on the King Air A200CT (three aircraft, serial numbers FC-1 and up).
  • RC-12H - Army version, used for Guardrail missions, based on RC-12D, but improved Guardrail V equipment.[2] Acquired in 1988, based on the King Air A200CT (6 aircraft, serial numbers GR-14 through GR-19).
  • RC-12K - Army version for Guardrail SIGINT use with improved Guardrail Common Sensor (GRCS) equipment.[2] Also has upgraded engines. Acquired in 1991, based on the King Air A200CT (9 aircraft, serial numbers FE-1 through FE-24).
  • UC-12M - Navy UC-12B and UC-12F aircraft with upgraded cockpit instrumentation.
    • RC-12M - Navy RC-12F with upgraded cockpit instrumentation, plus other systems and structural upgrades.
  • RC-12N - Army RC-12K modified with more powerful engines for increased payload, and improved missions systems, acquired in 1994 (15 aircraft used).
  • RC-12P - Army RC-12N modified with improved systems, increased takeoff weights. Based on the King Air A200CT (9 aircraft, serial numbers FE-25 and up).
  • RC-12Q - Army RC-12P with GRCS systems, and modified with a radome mounted on the top of the fuselage (3 aircraft).
  • C-12R - C-12F aircraft modified with EFIS glass cockpit instrumentation.
  • C-12T - Upgrade of various earlier Army versions with improved cockpit instrumentation in order to meet global air traffic management directives.
  • C-12U - Upgrade of C-12F Army version with improved cockpit instrumentation in order to meet global air traffic management directives.

King Air 350-based variants

  • C-12S - Army version based on the King Air 350, with seating for 8 to 15 passengers and quick cargo conversion capability.

Beechcraft 1900-based variant

  • C-12J - Used by Air National Guard, carries 2 crew and 19 passengers. Based on the Beechcraft 1900C (serial numbers UD-1 through UD-6).

Note: The U.S. military also operates other King Air versions under other designations, including the C-6 Ute, VC-6A 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.

Specifications (King Air B200)

Orthographically projected diagram of the Beechcraft King Air B200.

Data from[9], [10]

General characteristics


General characteristics

  • Primary Function: Passenger and cargo airlift
  • Contractor: Raytheon Aircraft Company (Formally Beech Aircraft)
  • Unit Cost: $2 million
  • Propulsion: Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 turboprop engines; 850 shaft horsepower (630 kW) each
  • Length: 43 ft 10 in (13.3 m)
  • Height : 15 ft (4.6 m)
  • Weight: Max. gross, take-off: 15,000 lb (6,750 kg)
  • Cruising Speed: Max.: 294 knots (334 mph, 544 km/h)
  • Ceiling: 35,000 ft (10,700 m)
  • Range: 1,974 nautical miles (3,658 km)
  • Crew: Two
  • Armament: None
  • Date deployed: 1994
  • Predecessor: Beechcraft C-6 Ute
  • Successor: Cessna C-35 Citation


  1. 1.0 1.1 King Air timeline from Wings over Kansas
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Guardrail details from FAS
  3. article Death from Above, Strategy Page
  4. Air Force Fact Sheet
  5. [1]
  6. C-12J at Global
  7. 7.0 7.1 Army aviation web page
  8. Special Electronic Mission Aircraft listing at
  9. Lundgren, Johan (1996-2006). Raytheon Beechcraft King Air 200. AirNav Systems LLC. URL accessed on 2006-07-30.
  10. Jackson, Paul; Munson, Kenneth; Peacock, Lindsay. Jane's All the World's Aircraft. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2684-3. 

External links

Related content

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Related development

Comparable aircraft

Designation sequence

See also

ja:C-12 (航空機)