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New L-3 Communications Spy Plane to be in Afghanistan by Christmas

Christmas has come early for a few Air Force pilots stationed in Afghanistan. The first of the 24 new Hawker Beechcraft airplanes modified by L-3 Communications will be delivered to Afghanistan by Christmas.

These spy planes are equipped to support ground troops with still images, video and surveillance information. The modified planes have high resolution and heat sensing cameras produced by L-3.

“The planes also are equipped with sensors that can monitor insurgents’ conversations and help pinpoint their location, said Jeffrey Richelson author of the “U.S. Intelligence Community, ”

These planes will be arriving one month ahead of schedule. Defense Secretary Robert Gates commissioned the contract in April 2008, and these planes will support the additional troops President Obama has sent to the area. In addition to the modifications by L-3 Communications, radios from Raytheon and Harris Corp. have been added to the planes.

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