USAF Special Operations - Non-standard Aviation
United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) intra-theater airlift fleet currently operate a number of light and medium aircraft in the non-standard aviation role.
These aircraft are used for insertion, extraction and resupply operations in situations where the much larger MC-130 Combat Talon or Combat Spear aircraft are unsuitable. They typically are painted in civilian schemes in order to provide a more clandestine profile.
Based around the Pilatus PC-12 light aircraft, the U-28A is small enough to land on small grass or dirt airstrips. It can carry 10 passengers or 3,000lbs of cargo onto airstrips half the length that a C-130 can. The U-28A features a fitment of sophisticated communications and navigation equipment and is operated by the 34th, 318th and 319th Special Operations Squadrons.
In 2009 AFOSC ordered 10 M-28 Skytrucks for the non-standard aviation role. The aircraft, designated as the C-145A, can carry up to 19 passengers or up to 19,000lbs of cargo. The Skytruck is operated by the 318th Special Operations Squadron.
update: AFSOC's C-145As transferred from the 318th SOS to the 6th SOS in April 2013. The aircraft will flown in support of the 6th SOS's aviation foreign internal defense (AVFID) mission. The C-145a will also be flown by the 711th Special Operations Squadron, 919th Special Operations Wing, the reserve counterpart of the active duty 6th SOS.
The Q-200 is a variant of the Bombardier Dash 8 medium-range turboprop civilian aircraft. AFSOC has reportedly leased 4 Q-200s in 2008 and 2009 as a stop-gap measure while a permanent medium aircraft is decided on for the non-standard aviation role. The Q-200 can carry up to 39 passengers and features an Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS). The Q-200 is operated by the 524th Special Operations Squadron (524th SOS) out of Cannon AFB.
update: the 524th SOS new operate the C-146A Wolfhound instead of the Q-200s (see below).
The Dornier 328 is a turboprop aircraft typically used by civilian airlines as a commuter airliner. AFSOC flies the Do-328, designated by the air force as the C-146A Wolfhound, in support of special operations forces. The C-146A is operated by the 524th SOS.
More Non-standard Aviation Aircraft
The secretive 427th Special Operations Squadron is beleived to operate a number of covert transport aircraft, including C212 variants, CN235 and PC-6 airframes.
for more info on these aircraft see : 427th Special Operations Squadron