Light Attack Aircraft Test Rejected
Embraer and Hawker Beechcraft have another adversary in their competition to supply a light attack version of their training aircraft to the U.S. military. Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have rejected a $17 million proposal to deploy four turboprop aircraft outfitted with precision-guided munitions to Afghanistan to see how they worked in a close support role for ground troops. Embraer was offering its militarized Super Tucano trainer and Hawker Beech has an attack version of its Texan II trainer it was hoping to supply for the experiment. Despite high-level support from both the Navy and Air Force, lawmakers apparently aren't interested, according to NavyTimes.com.
It's the second year in a row Congress has nixed the proposal, which was started by the Navy as a project called Imminent Fury. In that project, the Navy, joined later by the Air Force, put a Super Tucano through its paces and determined a battlefield assessment was warranted. Hawker Beech joined the competition and the plan was for four aircraft to Afghanistan for six months. The military proposed a $22 million plan last year and shaved $5 million from it for the latest try but the congressional committees still weren't biting. The idea hasn't been completely abandoned, however. The military might use 50-year-old OV-10 Broncos in the role.