Nice video, frustrating history

AvGeek shares a very attractive Beechcraft video featuring their armed version of the Texan II trainer.  It’s from last April, but still attractive.

What’s frustrating is that the AT-6C is for foreign buyers. Like the first A-29 Super Tucano delivered to the Air Force (to train foreign buyers), it is a low cost platform. And while the weapons it carries are nice, its ability to carry a powerful sensor package, and loiter overhead would be very nice to have in low intensity theaters.

We’ve long said we didn’t really care who won the LAARA competition. What’s frustrating is that the Air Force has resisted mightily the very idea that such a platform might have a place in the service.

Contrast that with Vietnam, where the Air Force bought and put into service several hundred A-37 Dragonfly light attack variants of the basic T-37 Tweet trainer.

12 thoughts on “Nice video, frustrating history”

  1. USAF also hated the A-37 and its pilots have gotten the same type of dead end treatment as A-10 types have in the last 30 years.

    If we were to go with something with a big radial, that radial would need to be a JP burner.

    1. Piston powered aircraft require a heck of a lot more maintenance than turboprops, not to mention the hazards of supplying high octane AVGAS.

  2. Yeah, xbrad, I was wondering why they all are lusting after radials myself. They’re heaver, produce less power at a given weight than a turboprop, and are more complex.

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the Piper Enforcer yet. 🙂

    On the gripping hand, I’m really surprised that no one mentioned the OV-10D, which has better numbers than either the Super Tucano or the Texan II. It also has much better endurance and load-carrying ability.

    If memory serves, Boeing is 90% ready to build modernized OV-10s right now.

    1. The Navy was/is? operating a pair of OV-10G+ birds. What they’re doing, well, that’s something of a mystery. But yes, the Bronco would be a terrific platform for our current wars.

    2. I’d be all over the PA-48 or a new-build Bronco. Might even try to help the current Argentine financial situation by looking at the Pucara.

      For that matter, there’s a lot of A-7 SLUFs sitting in the Boneyard and this kind of war is right up their alley.

      When it came to the piston engines, I was simply suggesting the best and most recent plane to do the job. Good luck finding 100/140 avgas these days. Might have to rewrite half of the EPA’s reg manuals to get there.

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