It looks civilian, but this is Special Ops!

The Fairchild Dornier 328 when the American-German co-operation of the two companies was still at its prime. (Image © Fairchild Dornier Corp.)
The Fairchild Dornier 328 when the American-German co-operation of the two companies was still at its prime. (Image © Fairchild Dornier Corp.)

Don’t let the friendly colours of this Dornier Do 328 photographed by Evgeny Bychkov published at Airliners.net misguide you, this is a Special Operations airplane. The last of these has just been delivered to the US Air Force Special Operations Command.

AFSOC flies the Dornier 328 turboprop as C-146A. Since September 30, 2013, all 17 C-146s are operational. The originally civilian Dorniers were modified by the Sierra Nevada Corp. for their military task. Officially based with the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB in New Mexico, the C-146A transports personnel and materiel all over the world. The aircraft have been spotted on Cyprus, f. ex., when tensions rose for a possible war against Syria.

Sierra Nevada built in new avionics and communications gear and applied belly protection against stones for operations from unhardened airstrips. Some aircraft, seven according to some sources, got new spoilers to enable them to lift and land from shorter runways. At least five aircraft have received additional power units so they don’t need an external start-up engine.

Source: AFSOC/Sierra Nevada Corp/airplane spotters