RAF ‘ISTAR’ Beechcraft in LMML

Earlier this week, a highly modified Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 ‘ZZ417’ belonging to the Royal Air Force (RAF) landed in Malta for a tech stop on its way back to RAF Waddington while conducting a navigational training flight. In the RAF, the aircraft is better known as the Shadow R1, due to the highly sophisticated instruments fitted onboard the aircraft that allow intelligence gathering at relatively high altitudes.

The instruments include a series of HD electro optical and electronic sensors, with satellite communication links enabling the uplink and downlink of sensitive information. The RAF is currently undergoing the Shadow Mk2 Upgrade Programme, that will increase the current fleet from 6 aircraft to 8 aircraft.

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