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OT-47B Citation II (Cessna 552)

The OT-47B is an updated version of the T-47A, modified for counter drug tracking missions with 20 inch longer fuselage, upgraded engines, and special sensors. In 1994 Congressional action for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities of the Department of Defense included provisions that added the option of purchasing or leasing the T-47 aircraft, and changed the designation to OT-47B. On June 13, 1995 Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kansas, was awarded a $40,787,500 Firm Fixed Price contract for the procurement of five OT-47B tracker aircraft and for integration of the APG-66(V) radar and the WF-360TL imaging system onto the aircraft. The APG-66 is an I/J-band coherent pulse Doppler radar which was originally designed for use on the F-16 multirole combat aircraft. The contract was expected to be completed March 1997. Solicitation began November 1994 and negotiations were complete April 1995. Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity.

The OT-47B aircraft are operated by Aviation Development Corp., a military contractor apparently operating out of the Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama. The company has operated out of a remote hangar at Maxwell AFB since 1997. based Aviation Development Corp. (ADC) is privately held, and may be a CIA proprietary company.

US support to Peruvian aerial interdiction dates back to the early 1990s, was suspended in 1994, and then reinstated in 1995 after Congress passed a law allowing US government employees to assist foreign nations in the interdiction of aircraft when there is "reasonable suspicion" that the craft is primarily engaged in illicit drug trafficking.

The program was suspended in 1994 when it was determined that U.S. government officials could be prosecuted under U.S. law if they provided intelligence information used to force down civilian aircraft in flight. Later that year, Congress passed a new law that permitted U.S. officials to assist other nations in the interdiction of drug trafficking aircraft. In the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1995, Congress provided a procedure for allowing U.S. government employees to assist foreign nations in the interdiction of aircraft when there is "reasonable suspicion" that the aircraft is primarily engaged in illicit drug trafficking. This law provided for this activity in cases where (1) the aircraft is reasonably suspected to be primarily engaged in illicit drag trafficking, and (2) the President of the United States has determined that (a) interdiction is necessary because of the extraordinary threat posed by illicit drug trafficking to the national security of that foreign country, and (b) the country has appropriate procedures in place to protect against innocent loss of life in the air or on the ground in connection with such interdiction, which at a minimum shall include effective means to identify and warn an aircraft before the use of force is directed against the aircraft.

The United States began providing assistance to Peruvian air interdiction programs again in March 1995. The results were immediate and dramatic. Between March 1995 and the end of 1996, the Government of Peru had forced down or seized on the ground many aircraft. Drug trafficking pilots were no longer willing to fly into the central growing regions. The program's 1995 reinstatement contributed to a significant drop in Peruvian coca production in the late 1990s. By the end of 2000, coca cultivation was about one-quarter of its 1995 totals.

On 20 April 2001 Veronica Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter Charity were killed in their US missionary plane over the Amazon River in Peru. Peruvian officials mistook the plane for a drug cartel aircraft, and it was fired on by a Peruvian Cessna A-37B. The pilot of the missionary plane, Kevin Donaldson, was wounded but the woman's husband, missionary Jim Bowers, 37, and their 6-year-old son, Cory, were unhurt. Reportedly as many as 20 other deaths had resulted from 38 previous incidents in which planes had been shot down or forced to land under Peru's policy of shooting drug planes unless they surrender.

The US surveillance plane that monitored the downing of a missionary plane in Peru belonged to Aviation Development Corp. The Citation 5 surveillance plane used in the operation is owned by the Pentagon. The aircraft was manned by three former US-military men who were under contract to the CIA and one Peruvian Air Force officer. According to some reports, US surveillance plane's crew was hired by the CIA from DynCorp, which is the largest US government contractor in the region. DynCorp is the lead contractor for anti-drug work in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. DynCorp employees in Peru were hired by the State Department to handle everything from aircraft maintenance to pilot training.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:34:43 ZULU