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C-145 Skytruck

The Air Force Special Operations Command-owned C-145 Skytruck is now the primary aircraft on the 919th Special Operations Wing flightline at Duke Field. The aircraft is used in Aviation Foreign Internal Defense training, part of the special operations wing's mission.

The C-145A’s primary role is to support U.S. Special Operations Command’s Aviation Foreign Internal Defense mission to assess, train, advise and assist foreign aviation forces in airpower employment, sustainment and force integration. Secondly, the C-145As provide the theater Special Operations Commands a light mobility capability. These mission sets are conducted by AFSOC’s Combat Aviation Advisors.

The C-145A is a twin-engine, high-wing aircraft with twin vertical fins and a non-retractable tricycle landing gear capable of short takeoff and landings to unprepared runways. The C-145 is reconfigurable to support both airland and airdrop of cargo (max 2,400 lbs) and personnel, casualty evacuation, combat search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The C-145A can carry a maximum of 16 passengers or 10 combat rigged paratroopers. Maximum cargo weight is 5,000 lbs, or up to four litter patients. Missions can be conducted to prepared and semi-prepared airfields around the world.

The C-145A aircraft was originally bought to support the non-standard aviation mission in 2009. In 2010, Congress authorized the purchase of 16 light twin engine aircraft to support the AvFID mission. As a result, the C-145A was selected for this role. The aircraft has been continually deployed since March 2011. The Air Force Special Operations Warfare Center had 10 C-145As and receiveed its final six aircraft by April 2014.

The C-145A executed its first deployment on March 7, 2011 as a flight of three C-145As departed from Cannon to Afghanistan in support of village stability operations," said Capt. Christopher Sutton, 318th SOS pilot. "Three months after returning aircraft from Afghanistan, the C-145A crews assumed new mobility responsibilities and worked diligently to stand up a new site in Africa. The airdrop capability of the C-145A was a benchmark for combined operations in eastern Africa, allowing SOF teams to operate in isolated, forward-deployed locations.

The C-145A flew missions in support of two theater special operations commands in Africa and Afghanistan. The C-145A provides precision combat airdrop and short takeoff and landing capability to landing zones with minimal support. Aircrew members with the C-145A operate in sensitive areas, providing efficient movement of the nation's elite SOF troops. The aircraft are routinely used to enable flights in austere, semi-prepared airfields.

After 3 months of training, in June 2021 U.S. Air Force Combat Aviation Advisors assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command Africa and Kenyan Air Force (KAF) partners completed a successful culmination exercise showcasing the wide range of capabilities the recently-acquired C-145 Combat Coyote will add to the KAF fleet. The engagement enabled a fully-trained flying crew - to include pilots, loadmasters, riggers and mechanics - proficient in operating and maintaining the C-145. The culmination of the training featured an exercise in all areas to include airdrop, medical evacuation, and short take-off and landing. “It is important for the U.S. and Kenyan military to work together. We are able to do more, because we are basically acquiring the best skills from the training and our combined exercises.” Kenyan Defence Forces Maj. Francis Mutisya, C-145 pilot.

The aircraft, as part of security cooperation efforts between the U.S. and Kenya, reached the Kenyan Defence Forces in September 2020 through the Excess Defense Articles program. “It has been interesting working with our counterparts. We can learn a lot from people, and we can also better our forces. The C-145 is a more tactical aircraft, so for me it has been different, the sharing of the knowledge, the direction, has been awesome.” Kenyan Defence Forces Cpl. Mercy Kendi, aircraft technician. “Really it’s a symbiotic relationship. We need the Kenyan Defence Forces, just as much as they need us. What we bring is the train, advise and assist mission, and we advise the KDF on how to tactically employ sustainable operations. This is their home turf, they know it best. They show us how to take what we bring and use it in this environment,” said U.S. Air Forces Special Operations Command combat aviation advisor.

Primary Function Aviation Foreign Internal Defense and light mobility
Builder PZL Mielec
Power Plant Two Pratt and Whitney PT6A-65B Turboprops
Thrust Takeoff power 1,100 shaft horsepower
Wingspan 72 feet 4 inches
Length 43 feet
Height 16 feet 1 inch
Max Cruise Speed 223 knots
Max Range 1,010 nautical miles
Service Ceiling 25,000 feet (with supplemental oxygen equipment)
Maximum Takeoff Weight 16,534 lbs. (7,500 kgs)
Crew 3 (2 pilots, 1 loadmaster)
Unit Cost Approx. $14M per aircraft
Inventory Active duty,10 (End state: 16 by fiscal 2015); Reserve/ANG, 0

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:14 ZULU