With two other mysterious spy planes now retired, U.S. Special Operations Command appears to have fully transitioned to using newer, modified de Havilland Canada Dash-8s for certain discreet persistent surveillance missions. At least one of these planes is already becoming a regular feature over Libya, where American special operators continue a secretive hunt for terrorists, including individuals with links to the infamous Benghazi attack.
According to the U.S. military’s latest budget request for the 2019 fiscal year, which it released in February 2018, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) operates at least two of the twin engine Dash-8s as part of a fleet of aircraft known as SOCOM Tactical Airborne Multi-Sensor Platforms, or STAMP. That program also oversees at least three smaller twin engine Beachcraft King Air B300s.
We don’t know the exact configuration of these Dash-8s. Federal Aviation Administration records only shows SOCOM as having registered one aircraft of this type, which carries the U.S. civil registration code N8200L, so the exact status of the other plane is unclear.