A-10 replacement almost ready.

Tedminator

Former Staff
Jun 2010
26,567
18,635
South Florida
#1
Well, maybe not a replacement but rather a supplement to the aging A-10 fleet. Down to two candidates.. Beechcraft's AT-6 Wolverine and Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano.

Commentary: The US Air Force needs a light attack aircraft
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.”
...snip..



About time. the USAF has been doing combat missions nonstop since 1991 and all the fancy jets are getting worn out. Time to bring back the turboprops. Odd tho that it's a two-seater.. I'd have thought technology could have taken over the backseater's duties by now, but I guess not yet. Anyhoo I'm kinda partial to the A-29 :cool:

A-29 Super Tucano



AT-6 Wolverine
 
Sep 2017
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Massachusetts
#3
Well, maybe not a replacement but rather a supplement to the aging A-10 fleet. Down to two candidates.. Beechcraft's AT-6 Wolverine and Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano.

Commentary: The US Air Force needs a light attack aircraft
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.”
...snip..



About time. the USAF has been doing combat missions nonstop since 1991 and all the fancy jets are getting worn out. Time to bring back the turboprops. Odd tho that it's a two-seater.. I'd have thought technology could have taken over the backseater's duties by now, but I guess not yet. Anyhoo I'm kinda partial to the A-29 :cool:

A-29 Super Tucano



AT-6 Wolverine
I like the focus on cost-effectiveness, both in terms of procuring the aircraft and in terms of operational costs. But, I'd like to focus even more on that. According to Wikipedia, Super Tucano's can cost as much as $18 million each. That may be a bargain relative to an F-22 or F-35, but it still seems absurdly expensive for a small turboprop plane. Even the very low-end quotes of cost, in the $5 million range, seems somewhat extravagant.

To put it in perspective, the P-51 Mustang, which looks eerily similar to these, cost $50,985 back in 1945, which works out to about $710,000 in today's money. You could build a fleet of 25 P-51's for the cost of one high-end Super Tucano. I get there are going to be electronics and weapon systems on one of these modern turboprops that push the price up relative to the rough-and-ready WWII equivalents, and many of those are probably fully cost-justified. But I'm betting there's a whole lot of fat there, too. To put it in context, the Russians have a new turboprop, the Yak-152, which costs about $200,000 each. A rough Chinese equivalent airframe is the CJ-6, and a CJ-6 can be bought for as little as $75,000. Even if you take base airplanes like that and add on a million bucks of advanced electronics and another million of advanced weapons, you're still talking about a small fraction of what we're looking to pay.

I suppose the rejoinder will be that we should never cut corners on cost when spending more can make our service members even a little safer. I disagree. I think that money spent in one place is money not available to spend elsewhere, and that includes on alternate life-preserving options. A decent rule of thumb is that saving a life with a reasonably efficient government program or regulation tends to cost around $2 million. So, if we have a choice between buying a $18 million plane and a slightly inferior $4 million plane, we can think of the difference as seven American lives -- seven Americans who could have been saved if we'd gone with the cheaper option and then spent the money saved on more efficient life-saving efforts. The expected benefits of the slightly better plane need to be weighed against those seven lives when deciding if it's worth it.
 

Tedminator

Former Staff
Jun 2010
26,567
18,635
South Florida
#4
Wow.. They look like WWII planes.
Inorite! Thems sexy.. Looks and Sounds like a WW2 plane. Just need to put a Stuka siren on it and the USAF will be all set.
Heres both of them being tested on improvised runways. They'll be operating from Forward Operating Bases so it's vital the planes be able to do this.

 
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Likes: The Man
Jan 2007
33,031
6,913
#5
Inorite! Thems sexy.. Looks and Sounds like a WW2 plane. Just need to put a Stuka siren on it and the USAF will be all set.
Heres both of them being tested on improvised runways. They'll be operating from Forward Operating Bases so it's vital the planes be able to do this.


The A-10 was questioned about it's survivability, can't imagine this thing having any.
 

Tedminator

Former Staff
Jun 2010
26,567
18,635
South Florida
#9
So... where's the Gatling gun?

Thx :)
No GAU.

The A-29 have two .50 caliber MGs, one in each wing.
The AT-6 doesnt have internal guns, but it does 7 hardpoints (two more than the T-29) that can be used to carry gun pods.
 
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Likes: Thx1138

Tedminator

Former Staff
Jun 2010
26,567
18,635
South Florida
#10
Not against modern anti-aircraft missiles, even handheld MANPADS...
An advantage these turboprop attack planes have is it's lack of any significant heat signature.. so a heatseeking missile has difficulty locking on to it.

Last year the 81st Fighter Squadron’s A-29s participated in Green Flag in the Nevada desert. Playing part of “Red” air defense was a platoon of Marine Stinger operators — some of the best-trained operators in the world with the finest MANPAD ever built. The Marines were offered a weekend pass to anyone who got a valid shot on an A-29. No takers.
OA-X Strikes Back: Eight Myths on Light Attack
 
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