Quicksilver's GT-500 aircraft will receive some surveillance upgrades beginning this fall, the result of the manufacturer's new partnership with Jacksonville, Fla.-based aerial intelligence company IDENT.
(IDENT/Quicksilver Mosquito GT-500 Patrolling the Mexican Border. Photo, courtesy of IDENT LLC.)
The GT-500, which first entered service in 1987, will be used by IDENT for deploying modular Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) payloads. The basic airframe structure will remain in place, as IDENT looks to use the aircraft on surveillance missions for its domestic and foreign government customers.
"The only modification to the aircraft will be cutting a sensor port in the fuselage," said Richard McCreight, co-founder of IDENT. "Otherwise, we just add on tundra tires for off-airport operations, advanced search and find GPS navigation systems, encrypted voice/data telemetry, extended fuel capacity, and night flight capabilities. We don't want to change a good thing."
IDENT believes it can provide a low-cost surveillance option for governments--such as the U.S.--that are facing huge defense budget reductions. The company provides a complete package of ISR service, including aircraft, pilot and maintenance for a monthly fee.
Production of the s-LSA GT-500 is scheduled for November, with several aircraft initially, and increasing "dramatically in a year as projects are implemented," according to McCreight. IDENT requires a two-month period to incorporate its ISR features into the GT-500.
Related: GA Avionics News