Monday, October 18, 2010

Makes Sense

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." 


  1. There you go, trying to be all logical and economical and stuff again. Sheesh, when will you learn?

  2. The Spad was a fine piece of iron. While I'm nostalgic enough to like want to see them flying again, I suspect the cost of refurbing them might be a bit cost prohibitive.

  3. xBradtc had a similar post up the other day. But also included was the Ag AT-8 from Australia. It is a heavy hauler and can get down and dirty. Folks commenting even suggested bringing the OV-10 Bronco back to life.
    Guys who can make that great big 3350 radial work are very few and far between. And those puppies are heavy manhour eaters. Even SLUF would be too much anymore.
    But the AT-6 is a very good platform that is a proven airframe. A training aircraft is essentially abused in the normal course of events.

  4. Moogie: That's my freakin' problem: I NEVER learn. About some things.

    BR: Agreed on the refurb costs.

    Glenn: I'd rather see the semi-American AT-6 win if there's a buy.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.