Civilian (Looking) Spy Planes

There are more than a few small, civilian-looking planes here equipped with at least one sensor package. I snapped these photos as this plane was being towed through the aircraf display area. You can clearly see the sensor ball mounted under the nose of the plane. This is showing just how compact, and probably inexpensive airborne ISR gear is becoming. On of the major concerns I’ve heard everyone from USAF generals to think tank-types worry about is the proliferation of lightweight yet highly effective ISR gear. I’ve heard several people say ‘just imagine a terrorist group flying a civilian plane equipped with a sensor package over southern lebanon where they could peer into Israel.’ I’ve personnaly flown in a PC-12 equipped with a FLIR sensor package that allowed us to clearly read ship’s names from nearly 30-miles away as we flew over the English Channel. 

12 Comments on "Civilian (Looking) Spy Planes"

  1. They could… they could peer into Israel…!!

    Oh dear sweet Lord Jesus, whatever will we do!!??!?!??!

  2. Are they pulling that bird with a cargo strap??

  3. Maybe it's just me, but the point of gathering intel is to do it as inconspicuously as possible right? So should it come as a big surprise that somebody slapped a FLIR on a seemingly average, private looking aircraft?

  4. I want to slap it on my kite or toy remote helocopter I got at Toys R Us and peer into … the playboy mansion … I mean Isreal.

  5. An important benefit to the civil aircraft ISR configuration is the low acquisition cost of the platform, and the cheap, global supply chain for maintenance. Much easier to service an model that everyone everywhere uses, rather than one that has only one customer.

  6. Nothing like canonizing the obvious, right Guest A?
    Reminds me of class in my past. "Whatever you do, don't loiter. It would take you a generation to learn how to loiter."
    Wow, wait till the UN and ACLU get's a hard-copy of a directive ordering it's use.

  7. This is less for military deals. But for law Enforcement and border police.

  8. I believe that is a diamond twin star. great little plane. My school has a few of them

  9. I saw this on Air Forces Monthly …good luck peering into Israel fellas….one F-16 shot its kaput !

  10. Hum well I like the plane anyway. What is the darn thing?

  11. forobviousreasons | June 24, 2011 at 2:08 am | Reply

    Swarms of small disposable flying weapons will overcome all current defence and sensor systems.
    Click together UAV’s for a couple of thousand$ launched manually with remote control, satnav, fly by cell-phone are the new weapons of war.
    I wonder about ‘reap what you sow’.

  12. yea but taht as a range of 25000 miles and a fuel tank that holds about 200 litres

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