Air Force Narrows Light Attack Field

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The U.S. Air Force has narrowed the field in the competition for its new light attack aircraft to just two, the AT-6 Wolverine and A-29 Super Tucano, eliminating the Textron Scorpion and L-3 Longsword, a militarized Air Tractor 802 aerial application aircraft. It’s also canceled plans to test the aircraft in combat. “Rather than do a combat demonstration, we have decided to work closely with industry to experiment with maintenance, data networking and sensors with the two most promising light attack aircraft — the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. “This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement.”

The Air Force hopes the winner of the competition will be able to help out in close support roles in anti-terrorism and counter-insurgent roles now undertaken by much more expensive platforms like the A-10 and F-16. The new aircraft will also make it easier to cooperate with allies in the fight against terrorism because many of the countries on the front lines can’t afford the jets the U.S. flies.

Comments (4)

Neither of these are American designs. The US military should purchase US-designed and manufactured aircraft only.

Posted by: Ken Keen | February 4, 2018 8:35 AM    Report this comment

I am sure Cessna or some other manufacturer in the US would be happy to come up with a clean sheet design for an inexpensive turboprop driven attack aircraft that can withstand battle damage and bring the pilot home safe.

Posted by: bruce postlethwait | February 4, 2018 1:26 PM    Report this comment

1. They are both U.S. manufactured aircraft.

2. Cessna is owned by Textron. Cessna is not going to make a turboprop light attack aircraft to compete with their other turboprop light attack aircraft.

Posted by: Geoff Rapoport | February 4, 2018 6:06 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Keen,

Your statement is true, but only goes so far. Both designs started out life as the same Swiss PC aircraft. They have been modified quite a bit by their respective design teams; Embraer in Brazil and Beechcraft in the USA.

The T-6 is a basic flight trainer for the US armed forces. The AT-6 is a derivative of this aircraft.
The A-29 is built in Brazil and the USA for export customers such as the Afghan Air Force.

Posted by: Donald Romani | February 5, 2018 8:00 AM    Report this comment

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