Washington has claimed to have totally withdrawn its military forces from Somalia, but the recent images of the type of heavily-modified private passenger aircraft used by civilian contractors points to ongoing operations of a more secretive nature in the East African nation
Among the photos and footage of the US’ massive withdrawal of roughly 700 military personnel and their equipment from Somalia, which was officially completed on January 17, observers spotted some rare images of a side of warfare not often seen. One image spotted by The Drive’s “The War Zone” features a King Air turboprop aircraft of the type used by contractors, but with a civil registration number that corresponds to no known aircraft – known colloquially as a “ghost plane.”
The plane is built by Beechcraft, a Raytheon spinoff that produces several models of airplane used variously for passenger or combat roles.
According to the outlet, the aircraft’s civil registration number N27557, clearly visible in the image, is not assigned to any aircraft known to the US Federal Aviation Administration. However, a company called Gloome Aviation has apparently paid to reserve the number for a year beginning in June 2020.
As for the plane itself, the War Zone identifies a host of antennae, radomes and likely camera ports signifying the aircraft’s use in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, as well as a possible command and control function for forces on the ground. The…