Skip to comments.Hawker Beechcraft proposes F-35 cannon for AT-6
Posted on 09/14/2010 10:53:40 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Hawker Beechcraft proposes F-35 cannon for AT-6
By Stephen Trimble
Hawker Beechcraft has revealed new details about its plans for the AT-6 light attack and armed reconnaissance (LAAR) fighter, including the possibility of integrating a 25mm cannon.
A derivative of the General Dynamics GAU-12 Equalizer, a five-barrel cannon developed for the Lockheed Martin F-35, is among the weapons in consideration for the turboprop-powered aircraft, says Derek Hess, Hawker Beechcraft's director of AT-6 development programmes.
A French 20mm gun is another option under review to either replace or augment the .50cal gun pod that is integrated on the twin-seat fighter, Hess says.
Integrating either cannon is an indication of an ongoing debate about how such an aircraft could be operated in service by the US Air Force, which plans to award a contract next year for a LAAR fleet.
© Jamie Hunter/Aviacom
Hawker Beechcraft is teamed with Lockheed Martin to offer the AT-6 to the USAF for the LAAR programme. Embraer is expected to also challenge with its EMB-314 Super Tucano.
While the AT-6 is equipped with wing-mounted .50cal gun pods, the Super Tucano has integrated .50cal guns stored in the wings.
Hawker Beechcraft considers the pod-mounted option as an advantage should the USAF decide to upgrade the LAAR's armament, as pods can be easily replaced.
However, if the LAAR aircraft is employed in close air support situations, it is not clear whether the .50cal gun will be adequate. The USAF operates the 30mm GAU-8 Avenger, a seven-barrel Gatling gun, on its Fairchild A-10 fleet.
The core role of the LAAR fleet is expected to be counter-insurgency, a mission also at odds with the short-range and relatively imprecise machine gun. For this mission, the AT-6 would employ a new class of precision-guided, small munitions that are lethal at long ranges, Hess says.
There’s a lot of things in this world that can be improved by mounting a 50 cal. gatling gun on them.
The AT6 is a sexy plane, but I don’t think it will be equal to or better than an A10 in any role, nor have the durability.
That will always be a T6 to me as well ... :)
That looks like a knock off of the Mustang.
Why change the cal .50 anyway?
In my personal impression a cal .50 round is the ideal
ammunition against soft targets.
Without air superiority fighters for cover, these planes won't operate at all, they'll be shot down in large numbers by the enemy air superiority fighters.
Not meant to be.
However it costs (much!) less per hour of operation, and its cheap. You can sell ‘em to foreign countries.
Its a good idea. Not a great idea (the ideal of being behind a turboprop while taking ground fire seems kinda scary...) but a good idea.
A GREAT idea would be a 21st century A-1 Skyraider...
Is this what BO has brought us back to? Reintroducing 50 year old technology as new?
50cal Gatlings are great on aircraft but Gatlings burn through ammo very quickly. For vehicle mounting a pair of standard M2s are a great option. The twin mounts we had on the gunboats laid devastating fire and conserved ammo relative to a Gatling. 50s are so effective that you don’t need the volume of fire you need from a .30. Watched boulders explode and trees tumble as the 50s lay into the shore line.
Yes, a pair of 50s on the ol’ pickup would clear the traffic pretty quickly.
The A-10 is one hell of an aircraft, but it doesn't carry near enough 30 MM ammo to match the beast's loiter time. Waddayado when you're outa bombs and bullets in these things, and still have a few hours of fuel left?.
True, but as long as you have air superiority there is a lot to be said for the high carrying capacity and very long loiter of the prop powered attack plane.
Most fun I had in the army was firing quad fifties mounted on old half tracks back in 1961. You think two tear things up, 4 M2s will lay out some lead.
Heck, even an AK could hurt!
Of course they would be sitting ducks for any even “relative” modern air defence. But i think they could be usefull in afghanistan for example.
Turn on a radar, and we get you... Life is pretty difficult for active radars in air defense these day.
As for the rest, if know where they are we can use GPS and laser guided bombs to attack from outside their envelope. Doesn’t mean it will work every time, but I suspect troops would rather have a “crop duster” on call, than have to wait half an hour to get a access to an A-10.
Build more A-10’s. It’s that simple.
Until the Stingers arrive.
But any modern shoulder fired fire and forget anti aircraft missile would be the death of this “birds”.
Quads are cool. The rear gun on the boats was supposed to be an M-60 but they were all replaced with another M2. Three is almost as good as four!
I am a fixed winger all the way, but frankly I can't see what these things do that helos cannot. Of course, in Afghanistan, helos are at a disadvantage in the high mountains, and are also vulnerable to RPGs.
My other question is that I doubt the sincere AF commitment to Close Air Support. They HATE the A-10 and couldn't wait to give it to ANG units! Unless you are at 35,000+ and at least have the capability of going Mach 1, you ain't shiite in the AF promotion list.
Ask any AD1 pilot. 6 hour loiter time, 9,000 lbs ordnance, 4 20 MM cannon, rockets, pilot in a titanium "bathtub." strictly the era of dumb bombs and smart pilots. And scant respect from the fighter jocks. AF couldn't wait to ditch that mission, too!
The A-10 tooling no longer exists. When the AF decided to re-wing the fleet, the tooling for the new wing had to be designed and built from the ground up.
Somebodies not thinking clearly, IMHO helicopters are far better close air support, scouting and recon packages than any fixed wing airframes. Maybe these airplanes are ment for third world countries, ut we surely don't want them in the USAAF Perhaps that's where Hussein's insane financial strategms are taking us?
Depends on the countermeasures package.
They have not accomplished much so far...
Personally, I’d build something like that and arm it with 2.75 inch FFARs - with laser or GPS guidance. I think they developed this and its been looking for a home ever since.
[That looks like a knock off of the Mustang.]
There was an attempt to make a super mustang in the 80s that was more bad ass than the T-6. Too bad it wasn’t pursued. It was a turbo-prop too.
You need a picture of the type with the 37mm anti-tank guns under the wings.
Now you're talkin'.
That aircraft is in the air, right now.
Track it here:
They won't survive an environment which has the equivalent of Stinger anti-air missiles, or anti-aircraft guns.
In short these are only good in environments where the targets can't shoot back, like civilian protesters.
What we'll be reduced to by the time Obama's done...
As said Afghanistan is the only battlefield i could think of where they might could be usefull. (This or maybe in a few 3rd world african hell holes). Because there it would be a cheap “alternative” you could call in for close air support against soft targets. For example in cal. 50 they could carry a lot more bullets than an A10 or an Apache (and the bullets are much cheaper ;-)
And since my main job in the military was “sitting” behind “my 12,7” ;-) i know that this is a very usefull round against enemy fighters or against other soft or even light armored targets.
Depends on the countermeasures package.
They have not accomplished much so far...
Just for example look at this (you will notice that the bullets cut the rope now imagine what would happen to a big targed flying at the same speed). Btw. this is not even new technology (they allready have started to replace them).
If they really want a air to ground plane why not mount a pod at the end of the wing with a improved 40 mm grenade machine launcher if you will.
The F-35 cannon is a 25mm, the .50 cal is 12.7mm.
If we’re fighting Gepards, we’re fighting WWIII. Little birds will have to stay home.
Of course! But lets hope this will never happen! But anyway the gepard was just an example (because it was the first video i found where a AA Gun shot at a drone after a quick search on youtube) what any modern anti aircraft defence would do against this birds. So as said they might be usefull in afghanistan and some other totaly “f*cked” up 3rd World African hell holes but thats all. But as said they should give them a try in afghanistan because they won´t get shot down by an AK 47 or an 30 years old RPG thats for shure!
If were fighting Gepards, were fighting WWIII. Little birds will have to stay home.
why not just bring back the Skyraiders???
(1)They Burn AVGAS, which really isn't in the pipeline anymore for the all-diesel and jet-fuel military. Probably have to be re-engined with turboprop.
(2)Spares for that big radial? Fuggedaboutit.
(3) The Skyraider, impressive beast that it was, was the latest in 1946 tech. Although it has enough room in it to build a small raio station, it would take quite a bit to get it up to mod specs.
(4) Speaking of beasts, this baby was tough to yank and bank, kind of heavy controls. OTOH it COULD carry 4.5 tons of various pyrotechnic devices.
(5) I wonder how many are left in the boneyard?
Not sure I agree with you. The vast majority of the A-10s are still in the active fleet and the AF is still throwing considerable $$ at it to keep it modernized and capable through 2030 (think $1.2B wing replacement, just to name one). That’s not exactly what I would call ‘hate’. The A-10 still is the CAS platform of choice in the AOR for the ground pounders. Just the sound of those fans bearing down on the bad guys has ended many a firefight.
Not true. There are a few acres of A-10 tooling sitting in the Arizona desert (AMARG). Perhaps not all of it, and not in the best of condition, either. But I’ve obtained many pieces and had them refurbished for production purposes. Boeing likely chose to fabricate new tooling because it’s easier (cheaper) than trying to refurbish/recalibrate old rusted out tooling. New tooling can be made using new, more precise technologies not available in the early 70s.
You don’t want to put a turboprop on such a lovely plane. The radial is essentially more frontal armor for the airplane... If a turboprop takes damage I bet it just throws its blades and packs up.
As for the rest, you’re right. We need a 21st century Sky Raider with advanced electronics for all weather delivery of smart ordnance, a long loiter time, and a massive ordnance loads. Just image what sort heck a plane with four tons of Small Diameter Bombs could do...
If we can make cheap, so that there are lot of them, that would be even better.
I think that is main attraction of these Tucanos and AT-6s. Their load isn’t great, but they are (relatively( cheap so you can have lots of them and sell to third worlders, too..
If we ARE going for a turbo-prop COIN aircraft, though, we need to go with an updated OV-10 Bronco.
OV 10 is jake with me. Although I have always wanted to try the Argentine Pucará.