The C-12 Huron, an executive passenger and cargo aircraft, is the military version of the Beech Model 200 Super King Air. The prefix "Super" was later dropped by Raytheon (who had acquired Beechcraft) in 1996. The aircraft is a high-performance, twin-engine turboprop that accommodates a pilot, co-pilot, and eight passengers. It first flew on 27 October 1972 and was adopted by all U.S. armed services (except the Coast Guard), with more than 300 currently active.
The C-12 provides on-call, rapid response, modern air transport for high priority supply and movement of key personnel. Specifically, it is used for VIP transport or to deliver repair parts, equipment, and accident investigation teams wherever needed. Its support role also includes such functions as range clearance, medical evacuation, administrative movement of personnel, transportation connections, and courier flights.
The first three production King Airs were delivered in 1974 to the U.S. Army as RU-21J (later redesignated C-12L) electronic warfare and intelligence-gathering equipment testbeds. In the same year, standard King Airs were obtained off-the-shelf as staff transports by all four U.S. armed services simultaneously, the U.S. Army and USAF aircraft being assigned the designation C-12A, and those for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps (with cargo doors, more powerful engines and high-flotation undercarriages) being designated as UC-12B. All versions were given the name Huron.
Deliveries of the King Air 200 to the USAF as an operational support aircraft under the designation C-12F began in May 1984, these having side cargo doors and payload choices including two casualty litters plus attendants. Forty were purchased by the USAF after an initial five-year lease, six were supplied to the Air National Guard and 17 were delivered to the U.S. Army. The U.S. Navy also obtained 12 UC-12Fs (equivalent to the C-12F) and these, together with the some UC-12Bs, were upgraded to UC-12M standard from 1987.