Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dead-end contract

USAF awards a contract (for the second time) to a vendor for an aircraft at a 20 percent cost hike all for a war no one cares about.

Better late than never? I don't think so.


Mars HQ said...

Hmmm... the A-29M?

Where can the USMC sign up!

Not a bad stopgap option for an armed recon and light-CAS role to replace even just a few geriatric Hornets and expensive Harriers.

Bushranger 71 said...

Eric; I see this as a pretty big plus that might get the military worldwide better focused on cost-effective close air support.

As I have argued in several forums, there will be occasions, especially in close quarters combat in rugged jungle terrain for example, where stand-off and explosive ordnance just cannot be delivered safely in very close proximity to friendly forces, perhaps as close as 10 metres. Platforms equipped with ball ammunition weapons, minigun and/or .50 inch calibre, that can hang around in close to targets in murky conditions are much better suited for intimate close air support than airframes zipping around near 400 knots.

Sometime soon, some nations might realise that they are potentially wasting a whole lot of money in placing too much emphasis on higher end capabilities to perform pretty basic roles.

I believe the Super Tucano has a pretty big market future and there has been discussion in some places re the possibility of developing a version for operation off flat-top platforms. That sounds like a very good idea.

Eric Palmer said...

I like the platform.

I also think it is amusing that a capability like this is delivered well over 10 years late.
Having said that, I see it a big waste of money to put into a lost war and it will be amusing to see how these aircraft get parked...for lack of maintenance in a post U.S. Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sad reality of this thing being 10 or so years too late into the fight. It could very well have been one of the most effective overall air assets in the arsenal, if not the most cost-effective and game-changing one.

But I'm not so sure about the last part. As far as maintenance goes in a post US/NATO A-stan, maybe A-gov will outsource maintenance for a platform easier to maintain than a Mig-21 and even a Mi-8?

Bushranger 71 said...

An often overlooked selling pitch for acquisition of 2 Canberra class LPD aircraft carriers for the ADF was the ability for a mix of fixed and rotary wing to be operated from these platforms. They of course are fitted with a ski-jump ramp and simple arrestor systems are easily added.

There has been a study ongoing in Navy circles regarding the suitability of the OV-10 Bronco, principally for close air support. The Super Tucano would be superior, if a carrier version is progressed.

The aircraft carriers are going to be a hugely expensive to operate platform if only embarking a number of assorted helicopters, so any argument for broadening their purpose might get traction.

If the RAAF persist with an over-emphasis on top end capabilities, it seems possible that they might find it harder to justify so many MRCA platforms downstream, if a push for Navy close air support capability gathers momentum.