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AF Light Air Support Aircraft

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Posted

Air Force requests 100 light-attack planes

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer

Posted : Monday Aug 3, 2009 16:49:24 EDT

Air Force pilots could be flying light-attack airplanes in less than three years.

On July 27, the Air Force took an early step toward buying small airplanes able to fly attack and reconnaissance missions. The “request for information” came from Air Force Materiel Command’s Aeronautical Systems Center.

According to the center, the Air Force seeks to buy 100 fixed-wing aircraft starting in 2012 and declare initial operational capability in 2013. Air Combat Command would operate and maintain the planes.

Specifications call for the plane to have two seats, four positions for weapons or external fuel tanks and an onboard laser designator. The plane must also have the ability to carry a minimum of two 500-pound bombs, launch 2.75-inch rockets and fire a gun.

Other standard gear requirements include an armored cockpit, night-vision compatible cockpit displays and defensive measures such as chaff and flares.

The warplane should also be able to land on runways 6,000 feet or shorter, cruise at about 200 mph and have an unrefueled range of almost 1,000 miles.

***I'd love to be able to fly one of these birds. Hopefully the timing will work out if they go through with it.***

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Posted

I thought this was going to be an AFSOC requirement, not ACC

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Posted

This is good news for the fight.

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Posted (edited)

ummmmm.... A-10s?

*oh and... awesome news... Sign me up!

Edited by FlyingWolf
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Posted

Good news! Question is, will they stick to that time table?

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Posted

5-at-6b-aircraft.jpg
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Posted (edited)

Two seats eh? Hot damn!

Maybe its some place former C-130 Navs can go once the J's totally take over.

Combining this with the 60 Light Lifters the Air Force wants to buy, there will be more manned cockpits and I'm wondering if this isn't an attempt to prove that UAVs aren't the only or maybe the most cost effective way to address irregular warfare needs.

Edited by FlyingBull
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Posted

Dudes,

You do realize that the requirement is basically calling for an A-1 Skyraider?

~CD

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Posted

Let the food fight begin.

My guess is an epic power-struggle has already begun between multiple communities.

The A-10 vs F-16 fight will focus on BRACed units wanting this platform, each claiming they are more suited for the role.

ACC already has a death grip on the program, but for all the wrong reasons. Publicly they will claim tremendous interest in the COIN mission when in reality they see this as a way maintain cockpits and season dudes for other platforms.

The Reserve and Guard will also use the BRAC argument to keep UAS' off their ramp and as always they will over-promise their ability to deliver qualified people.

AFSOC should have the airplane and the COIN mission, but they are too busy RECAPing the fleet and building a cadre of pilots for other systems.

I've flown the AT-6 and prefer it over the Super Tucano. Yes the Super Tucano has slightly better performance in a few areas, equal in others, but from a business model perspective the AT-6 makes more sense given the USAF has been flying and maintaining them for almost 10 years.

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Posted

sooooooo?????? more flight spots for those of graduating in a few years?? :rock:

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Posted

Sounds like the AT-6B mission maybe coming to fruition. Sign me up for it.

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Posted

Looking forward to seeing these out there, glad there's 2 seats, wish they were in AFSOC.

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Posted

Nah, give me the armed crop duster any day! Taildraggers are more fun.

post-6706-12493526891_thumb.jpg

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Posted

I'll be praying for this one...and maybe a way they will let an ABM sneak in the back.

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Posted

Pardon my cynical beltway mentality, but by the time they get done drafting this "requirement", it'll probably wind up the size and complexity of the B-2, when all they need is an upgraded OV-1 or OV-10-like aircraft.

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Posted

Who wouldn't want to fly that kind of mission? Where do I sign up?

...and I agree with hiflyer, bring back the Bronco! They can't be that far from being serviceable again...

133775559_1be52387ce.jpg?v=0

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Posted

Rekindle the A-1 Skyraider!

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Posted

Pardon my cynical beltway mentality, but by the time they get done drafting this "requirement", it'll probably wind up the size and complexity of the B-2, when all they need is an upgraded OV-1 or OV-10-like aircraft.

Something like this...?

post-6947-124936101203_thumb.gif

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Posted

Or...

dilbertprojectarc.jpg

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Posted

2...on the cynical beltway mentality.

But in addition, they want this in 2012? So after 7+ years of OEF and 6+ years of OIF, NOW they decide that they need an airframe like this, and lets put a "rush order" on it of 3 years down the road. It's ridiculous that it should take that long. The airframes already exist. We even have the necessary airframes set up for attack capability; they've been tested for at least the last 3 years.

However, I'm glad to see the Air Force is thinking "joint fight". Cause the Army/Marines have been asking for this kind of support for years. And sadly, I can say "years" while simultaneously NOT referring to the beginning of the war; it's been that long. I'm sorry but all those sweet F-22's aren't doing jack in this war.

RANT - Off topic - They same goes for UAV's. We don't want them cause we're "pilots". But if that's what the war requires to win and save lives, then that's what we should be clamoring for. I doubt the soldiers in WWII WANTED to storm the beaches, but they believed that they needed to in order to turn the tide of that war. It cost many of them their lives. So it's a bit embarrassing when I hear people complain about UAV's cause it'll cost them their...what, prestige? Bragging rights? Wants or desires? Pretty small potatoes by comparison. It's all vanity. Selfish pride will cost you more than what there is to gain.

RANT - Done.

The point is it's about time. Had we listened to our "sister" services' needs a while ago we could've saved lives, money, and all the rest.

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Posted (edited)

Oh Jesus don't bring that debate to a 69th thread.

And whats with the negative comments? Sure it would be better to have this sooner, but at least it is coming.

Edited by FlyingBull
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Posted

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but what do 100 AT-6Bs get you than you don't already get with Pred/Reaper? (Aside from it being a really cool mission to fly)

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Posted

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but what do 100 AT-6Bs get you than you don't already get with Pred/Reaper? (Aside from it being a really cool mission to fly)

Blasphemer...I mean Beerman,

Sadly, the answer comes from doctrine and it is all about money. The AT-6B for the COIN mission gives you the ability to train a "Partner Nation" (PN), pilot how to provide fires in support of his own nation. In concept the USAF would take a few airplanes to country X, fly with them for a few months, leave the AT-6B with the Air Force from Country X, then take a commercial flight home. The AT-6B costs less $10 Million a copy, costs less than $500.00 to operate, it is very easy to fly (hell I flew it), and does not require a complex maintenance, computer or satellite backbone.

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Posted (edited)

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but what do 100 AT-6Bs get you than you don't already get with Pred/Reaper? (Aside from it being a really cool mission to fly)

This is going to sound like Lt Obvious, and it is, but everything listed that currently is not on a Pred/Reaper would be a great asset and improvement in the CAS/COIN role. I suppose that might sound more ambiguously obvious than I intended it but I'm OPSEC-ually conservative.

Hopefully it happens. It seems to me they've been talking about doing this for a while and still no new version of the A-1. If it does happen I hope to find myself in one (sts).

Ego

Edit: I can't spell asset.

Edited by egochecks
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Posted

My guess is the Air Force wants this since the Navy has had success in its testing phase of Imminent Fury and the A-29 Super Tucano.

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