Skip to comments.Super Tucano Supporters In Shock: AF To Pick Tucano Or AT-6 Without Flying Either
Posted on 05/08/2012 8:41:23 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Super Tucano Supporters In Shock: AF To Pick Tucano Or AT-6 Without Flying Either
The Air Force will choose a winner in its troubled Light Air Support competition without actually flying the two contending planes, the Embraer Super Tucano and the Hawker-Beechcraft AT-6, and it will even disregard what it has data from the limited "flight demonstration" it conducted last year.
That's a disturbing departure from best practice in a program that has already been an agony for the Air Force, with the delivery of ground-attack planes to the fledgling Afghan air force now delayed by 15 months, enough to miss not one but two "fighting seasons" in Afghanistan. A chagrined Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz has publicly pledged "we'll work our asses off" to get it right. But according to AOL Defense interviews with both corporate camps, the revised Request For Proposal released at 5:16 on Friday -- the traditional time to bury awkward news -- skips the important step of having the Air Force actually see how both planes fly before it makes its decision, tentatively due in January.
Evaluating the planes purely on paper rather than hands-on is problematic with each competing aircraft, for different reasons. The Super Tucano is simply unfamiliar to the Air Force, although it has an extensive track record in Latin American militaries, and a series of Navy Special Operations experiments variously called "Imminent Fury" and "Combat Dragon" gave good reports. The Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 (pictured) is derived from the familiar T-6 used to train both Air Force and Navy pilots, but the basic trainer is significantly different from the combat version, of which only two working models exist.
While they're still wading
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#1: Obama will so screw up the US military activity in Afghanistan that the Taliban will be back in control long before either A/C could be delivered, or on second thought, they will get there just in time to be turned over to the Taliban.
#2: Buy with no fly? WTF, over?
Let buy the one from the company that has only built two of their models, hasn’t tested them in combat, and is currently bankrupt!
You should also know that Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection three days ago. They were counting on this contract and it didn't come through.
That said, I still wouldn't give either company (Beech or Embrauer) a nickel to build planes for the Taliban Air Force.
I guess the question is who might be in the market for a distressed aircraft manufacturer with a shot at a Government contract? Sounds like there is significant potential for profit here for someone with inside information.
Why don’t they just find a plant to redo the P 51 Mustang? Update the cockpit with modern avionics. Place a sensors pod where the drop tank would be, and configure thw plane to carry smart ordnance and put 4 50 cal in the wings.
They might have figured a successful bid might open up an ability to compete with the Super T on other contracts. There isn't that much demand for these light turbo props.
US taxpayers buying Afghans an air force? WTF? Throw Karzai out of a C-130 from 30,000 feet after giving him a superman cape. That’s an Afghan air force I can live with.
Might be easier to just bring back the Skyraider.
I’m pretty sure the G model didn’t carry a bomb in addition to the 37mm anti-tank guns.
Do they have a crop duster version?
The Spad would have been a terrific choice. No need to reinvent the wheel!
I'd be interested in what they'd use for an engine. If the performance was so excellent with an outdated inline water cooled engine, imagine what it would do today with modern components!
One other plus - it would be a high demand product - literally the "Mustang GT" of the personal aircraft market.
A plane that one can use off the shelf technology for, really WW II technology except for perhaps avonics, is 15 months behind schedule? What a screw up. How hard would of it had been to refurbish IL-2 Sturmovik’s?
Yup, spot on. I’d forgotten about the Spad.I saw the Tucano’s inline nose and thought Mustang.
All that beauty needs is its quad 20’s back in the wings and you’ve got a real beast.
While I love the Spad, for close-in fighting I keep thinking two engines are better than one (pesky ground fire and all).
Personally I lean towards recreating the B-26 Invader.
And yes, that's a turbo-prop engine. You probably wouldn't see a modernized piston engine on an aircraft like this - turbo-props are much more reliable, easier to maintain, and provide greater power for the weight.
Thanx for the pic. You know I think I remember seeing this plane in either Janes or an issue of Av Week & Space Tech, back in the day.
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