Tom Horne

PC-12s in African Special Ops

June 14, 2012 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

Check out today’s front page story in The Washington Post:  It’s about a network of airports across Africa that are home to Pilatus PC-12s operated by the U.S. military. “Small passenger and cargo utility planes,” the Post calls them. These Pc-12s are probably the “Spectre” models that come with a retractable infrared sensor pod and interior monitoring console. The Spectre option tacks another $650,000 to the PC-12NG’s average equipped price of some $4 million. Military sales are an important slice of Pilatus’ business, and this is further proof. So is last month’s sale of 55 PC-21 trainers to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

6 Responses to “PC-12s in African Special Ops”

  1. Max Trescott Says:

    A couple of years ago, I was on a commercial airline flight and sat next to a very young Air Force Captain who was flying the military PC-12s for the Air Force. His overseas deployments were very short, often for six weeks or less at a time. While he didn’t give any details, it sounded like the planes were being used for special missions. He did say that they do some flying in these planes that goes well beyond the normal POH parameters.

  2. Loel Fenwick Says:

    So the PC12’s “are probably the Spectre models” and “sound like they are bring used for special missions” Did it cross your minds that you may be risking special missions — and lives? Please think before you show off what your know.

  3. CMT Says:

    Mr. Fenwick, I wouldn’t worry. Janes puts out way more details and specifics of platforms and performance. Also check out or….they give specifics as well.

  4. Brian Murphy Says:

    I don’t think Mr. Fenwick was referring to information that is readily gleaned from other sources. I am sure he was referring to the fact that the story reported that these aircraft were being used in the manner they were being used in the theater they are being used in. As a serviceman currently serving in a deployed capacity I often find myself shaking my head in disbelief that “journalists” publish some of the things they publish. I understand the alleged “right to know” but there are some things that are better left unsaid, such as “special” aircraft doing “special” missions in one of the current hotbeds for activity. I agree that it can put our men and women in harms way at a greater risk by “informing” possible hostiles, who get the same internet, of what we are truly doing.

    Details on hardware capabilities is one thing, telling people what they are “possibly” doing is another thing entirely.

  5. Operations Fellow Says:

    To those worried about outing secrets… Please…
    This information is already known to anyone who desires to know it.
    People gaining this information through a forum such as this one (or a newspaper) are not the bad actors who would do harm to the US military. Reiterating this information to the US public ultimately might help the US military by informing the US sheeple of what their military is up to. One would like to think that with this knowledge the US people might try to influence their leaders to get our warfighters out of harms way… out of places where US warfighters’ only job is to support/protect a corporatocracy unaffiliated with and unaccountable to the US or the US taxpayers paying the corporatocracy’s security bills.
    The African/S. American/C. American/Asian/Mideastern peasants trying to protect their lands and traditions against the land- and oil-grabbing corporatocracy already know the corporatocracy’s US military henchmen are in their homes. And these peasants are already doing harm to the US military precisely because it is in their homes. Why do think the corporatocracy labels these peasants “terrorists”?

  6. Larry Martin Says:

    As I try to look through your rhetoric Operations Fellow, I see some of your points and opinions. Although not as smart as you, many elected folks in the US government have made the decision to be involved there for a variety of reasons including maintaining awareness of the various al Qaeda factions (and others like them) looking for new homes, the inroads being made by the Chinese buying influence in Africa, helping to sustain a very strong economic growth pattern in Southern Africa (to support better governments) and generally watching out for the interests of the US that, yes, include economic interests including oil (you know, that stuff you put in your plane and car should you have either one) and minerals among many others. To assume that these things are undertaken by stupid and fiendish conspirators is sophomoric at best and smacks of naivete. Further, in each case, they would not be there at all without the host government asking them to be. Can’t happen any other way as this has no appearance of being an entirely clandestine activity (of which there may indeed be more). I would urge you to study it further in hopes that a more informed and nuanced view might be gained. Is it poor policy overall? That’s a worthwhile question but silly, charged words and simplistic arguments will not answer the question.

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