The US Air Force is continuing to prepare to keep the Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft for at least 30 years more in service. It just gave a follow-on order of 56 new wings to the Boeing company.
Boeing is now on contract to build up to 242 new wings for the strong close air support aircraft that was deemed to disappear 25 years ago. But then the A-10s performed majestically well against Iraqi armour during the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War and the American generals decided to keep this formidable air weapon.
Refitting the fleet of up to 395 aircraft with new wings will improve the mission availability of A-10s by an estimated 4 percent and will help save the Air Force an estimated $1.3 billion in maintenance costs during the next 30 years, says Boeing.
This latest order is valued at $212 million. Including this agreement, the Air Force has ordered 173 wings. The efforts of Boeing, its suppliers, and the Air Force will allow the A-10 fleet to operate into 2035.
The A-10 is a twin-engine jet designed for close air support of ground forces. It can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.
On Tuesday, Embraer Defense & Security delivered the first modernized A-1M attack aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) in São Paulo. The event was attended by the Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito, and officers from the FAB’s High Command. The A-1M program provides for refurbishing and modernizing 43 subsonic AMX jets, 16 of which are already at the Company’s facilities.
The A-1M jet is capable of air-to-ground attack, bombing, tactical air support and reconnaissance missions. The modernized FAB airplanes will receive new systems for navigation, weaponry, oxygen generation, multimode radar, and electronic countermeasures. This equipment, along with structural refurbishment, will allow these jets to continue operating until 2025. According to the Embraer modernization program, the A-1Ms will receive systems that are similar to those that are also found on the F-5Ms and the A-29 Super Tucanos belonging to the FAB. This will assist with the adaptation period of the pilots and provides standardization with numerous operational advantages, such as improved fleet management policy, better output in terms of flight hours, and reduced maintenance and operating costs.
The program also includes providing briefing and debriefing stations that will be used for training and improving the proficiency of the pilots of the FAB squadrons, and make it possible to get better use of the equipment, reduce costs, and achieve greater effectiveness in mission planning and execution. Therefore, the FAB will then have a state-of-the-art attack aircraft, with the latest generation of avionics and embedded systems, which ensure the capability of fulfilling the mission of defending the sovereignty of Brazil’s air space with excellence.
“The A-1 fighter jets are fundamental elements for the defense of Brazil, including its territorial coastal waters. We have been very successful in using this aircraft on such highly complex operations as the Cruzex and Red Flag exercises. Its modernization presents a big gain in capability, along with adequate cost-benefit, and, once again, it shows the value of the Nation’s industry,” points out the Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito.
“The delivery of the first A-1M marks another special moment in the long and successful history of relations between the FAB and Embraer,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President of Embraer Defense & Security. “This aircraft will be very useful for maintaining the operational capability of the Brazilian Air Force.”
The Beechcraft AT-6 light attack aircraft made its first production flight on August 20th, 2013, from the company’s field at Wichita, Kansas, USA.
The AT-6 is Beechcrafts bid to offer the US and other nations an aircraft for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support or armed reconnaissance, although the Embraer EMB 314/A-29 Super Tucano is internationally considered the better option.
Even the US armed forces preselected the Brazilian aircraft for anything from 20 up to 200 aircraft, causing loud protests from the Beechcraft company eventually resulting in a temporarily stop on the purchase plans until a judge waved the Beechcraft protests away.
The Beechcraft aircraft in the mean time has logged 1,600 test flight hours in pre-production versions.
The AT-6 is outfitted with a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68D engine, CMC Esterline’s mission modified Cockpit 4000, Lockheed Martin’s A-10C-based mission system and L-3 WESCAM’s MX-15Di sensor suite.
An AV-8B Harrier fighter and attack aircraft assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) lands on the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) operating in the Red Sea. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The photo was released on July 13th, 2013.