Savannah – Today was my first time back in Savannah in a week and I got quite a surprise when I saw a MC-12W pop up on Mode-S. MC-12s aren’t exactly a common visitor to this area and one’s presence immediately intrigued me. I was even more intrigued when I realized it was flying low level and correlated it to to SUNNY 22 which had just departed from Hunter AAF. A few seconds later, the callsign SUNNY 22 popped up in the callsign block in my Mode-S display. SUNNY is the callsign used by the US Army’s B/224 MI Bn, which is based at Hunter AAF. I immediately decided that I needed to make sure that the Mode-S information I was receiving was indeed what was flying out of Hunter, so I found me a spot off of the approach end of Runway 28 at Hunter and waited for SUNNY 22 to return. When it did, I was able to take a few photos confirming that SUNNY 22 was an MC-12W, specifically MC-12W 10-0739 (Mode-S AE4C61).
What makes this so interesting is that to the best of my knowledge the MC-12W is a USAF aircraft. If so, why is it flying with a US Army unit? According to the logs from my Mode-S receiver, the first time it was snagged was on 2 October 2014 for just a short period of time between 2025 and 2075 feet; the next time it shows on the log is today. As some of you may remember, I posted last month that 224 MI Bn was flying another new aircraft, an EMARSS, so this makes two new aircraft that B/224 MI Bn has been flying recently.
Combine this with one other bit of information and things get even more interesting. B/224 MI Bn normally flies RC-12Ns but I haven’t heard an RC-12 since July. The EMARSS aircraft started flying regularly in early August and the MC-12W showed up today, could this indicate that the unit is getting different aircraft an that its mission is moving in a different direction? Time will tell.