I've posted on this subject before... albeit oh-so-briefly... but it looks like this Good Ideer is moving right along. From AFA's Daily Report:
For Pennies on the Dollar: Test pilots and engineers at the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center in Tucson, Ariz., are evaluating the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C two-seat turboprop as one possible candidate for the light attack aircraft that the Air Force is considering procuring. "We learned a lot from initial testing earlier this year and made several adjustments," said Lt. Col. Keith Colmer, AATC's director of engineering. He added, "Future iterations of tests will integrate Hellfire missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinders, and various other weapons." Cost effectiveness is a big factor in the deliberations since a light-attack platform could potentially serve in scenarios where a fighter's full capabilities aren't needed, and at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, the per-flying-hour costs of an A-10 and F-16 are pegged at $15,000 to $17,000, while the AT-6 has cost about $600 per hour to operate. (Davis-Monthan report by Maj. Gabe Johnson) (USAF photos from the D-M report, click for larger)
Shades of the Spad, eh? I'm only about the lebbenty-lebbenth guy to say this, but why doesn't USAF refurbish the A-1s sitting out in the desert at Davis-Monthan (assuming there are such... coz I really don't know)? I suppose operating costs would be lower for the AT-6, as would support and logistics costs. They ain't making any spare parts for those old A-1Es any longer and mechanics that could work on those big-ass radials are few and far between.
I suppose I'm just indulging in Old Fart romanticism where the A-1 is concerned. But I have good reason for doing so... Col. Bernard Fisher, one of the Air Force's living Medal of Honor recipients, earned his MoH in the A-1. His is a remarkable story and you can read it here: "Into the Valley of Fire."