US Air Force to end trials with its A-29s and AT-6s

Selection of the military version of the AT-802 agricultural aircraft for the Armed Overwatch program, of ISR operations, would have motivated the USAF to prepare the transfer of the aircraft

The US Air Force (USAF) is expected to end trials with three A-29 Super Tucano turboprops and two AT-6C Wolverine that were recently acquired for demonstrations in light attack missions.

According to Edward Stanhouse, deputy executive director of the US intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and special operations forces program, the aircraft will be declared “excess defense articles” and then passed on to partner countries.

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The two turboprops were considered by the USAF in 2009 to form a fleet of close air support and light attack aircraft under the Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) program.

After budget cuts, the Air Force relaunched a new program, the Light Attack Experiment, in 2017 and for that it acquired some planes from Textron and Sierra Nevada (a partner of Embraer).

The aircraft “were used for proof-of-concept demonstrations by both SOCOM and Combat Air Command,” Stanhouse said during a recent conference.

AT-6C Wolverine (Textron)

Foreign Military Sale

With the choice of the AT-802U Sky Warden, an agricultural attack aircraft converted for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) operations, by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM), in the Armed Overwatch program, keep the A-29s and AT-6s would have lost all meaning.

The three A-29s and two AT-6s are expected to be transferred through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process, which authorizes the supply of armaments to allied US nations.

Both are already operated by foreign air forces such as Nigeria in the case of the Super Tucano and Tunisia, which was authorized to receive four AT-6Cs in 2020.

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