Viking Air will hand over the final Twin Otter Guardian 400 aircraft under contract to the US Army this week in a ceremony at its facility in Murrieta, California, US.
Scheduled to be delivered following final acceptance inspection by the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Demonstration Team and Fixed Wing Project Office delegates, the aircraft is the third Guardian 400 aircraft ordered as part of a contract in February 2008.
The aircraft will now join the initial two aircraft currently being operated by the Golden Knights aircrew out of their base in Fort Bragg in North Carolina, US.
Delivery of the first aircraft took place in September 2012, following receipt of US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certification in June that year.
Viking Air Operations executive vice-president Dan Tharp said the US Army has been a dedicated Twin Otter Series 400 customer from the outset of the programme, signing on as an initial launch customer and working with Viking as an integral member of the Series 400 steering committee.
"Viking greatly appreciates the relationship we have developed with the US Army over the past five years, and we hope to collaborate on future projects where the Twin Otter Series 400 is a suitable candidate for their requirements," Tharp said.
Designed to operate under the increased gross weight allowance of 14,000lb, the US Army Series 400 Twin Otters, officially designated as UV-18C, are primarily used in support of paratroop jumping activities.
An upgraded version of UV-18A, the aircraft features mission equipment specific to the Golden Knights parachute jumping requirements, including air-operable roll up door, external jump step and hand holds, crew relief station, as well as wall-mounted bench seating to accommodate 16 parachutists.
Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft is currently in service with 16 countries worldwide, including the Vietnamese Navy.
Image: US Army Golden Knights personnel making their inaugural jump from the first Twin Otter Series aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Army.