PARIS (MarketWatch) -- L-3 Communication Holdings Inc. and Hawker Beechcraft Corp. on Tuesday unveiled an exportable version of their King Air 350, which already is being used by the U.S. military for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in Afghanistan.
The move, announced at the Paris Air Show, seeks to tap into one of the few growth markets for aviation during the global recession.
L-3 /quotes/comstock/13*!lll/quotes/nls/lll (LLL 71.75, -0.93, -1.28%) and Hawker Beechcraft said they expect to sell 150 of the surveillance planes over the next 10 years for about $2.5 billion, including after-market services. In the United States, the market could demand as many as 75 planes for a total of $1.3 billion.
The two companies already have signed an agreement with the U.S. Defense Department to supply the military with 37 planes for about $1 billion. The first ISR King Air 350 for the United States entered service last week in Afghanistan.