The U.S. Air Force on Sunday said the coalition plane that crashed the day before in southern Afghanistan, killing four service members, was an MC-12 Liberty aircraft.
The twin-engine turboprop plane provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or direct support to ground forces. It crashed in Zabul province, about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Kandahar Air Field, the Air Force statement said.
The four Air Force service members, whose bodies were recovered, were deployed to the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron with the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing at Kandahar Air Field, the statement said. The cause of the accident is under investigation, but NATO has said initial reports indicate there was no enemy activity in the area where the plane went down.
We’ve written before about the MC-12 Liberty. Think of it as a sort of manned drone. The shortage of Predator and Reapers available for overhead ISR lead the Air Force to field a number of modified Beech King Air’s to support the mission in Afghanistan.
The MC-12 seem to focus more on direct support of TF ODIN, the counter IED program, than providing routine overwatch.
No word yet on the cause of the crash. The C-12 family has an excellent safety record.