One last post on the topic of counter-insurgency aircraft -- for this week anyway.
Two great bloggers -- ELP's War Pigs and HerkEng -- have sent some thoughtful comments to me about the COIN aircraft issue.
ELP's War Pigs wrote:
COIN is also knowledge. And not every solution is kinetic like traditional war. Example: Depending on the situation you may be dropping more leaflets or defoliant than bombs.
SU-25 is cheap on the used market, will even run on truck diesel, and a makeover by the Israelis or Russians if you have the extra cash (make the lights and cockpit NVG (night vision goggle) compatible. Ditto on a Mi-24 including the optional makeover. Cheap comercial GPS for situational awareness (most COIN enemies won't spoof GPS because they use it too) and you would have something.
Add some long range patrols (LRP) depending on the terrain and brown water navy stuff if it is riverine and cheap cell phone monitoring gear etc etc. The COIN aircraft is just one part of it.
You need all that junk above and you also need a good HUMINT social network. Again traditional firepower won't always be the go-to but for my El Jefe COIN force I would pick-
Mi-24 attack helo
King Air for a SIGINT/COMINT platform
Some other King Airs on rotation that are a flying radio station getting your message accross.
Beat up civilian vehicles that look normal doing SIGINT/COMINT
Good NVGs with good NVG compatible cockpits/lighting for all
Off the shelf GPS
Lots of internet cafes to draw in the bad guys. ( of course under watch)
Lots of money. Money buys friends, helps turn people.
All equipment not having U.S. State Department restrictions on use. Also the above could be contracted out as a private security force.
And that is why I am opposed to a UAV trying to do the mission. The "Pilots" in the box have no situational awareness and a limited field of view will not be able to react like a live pilot in the seat. Yes, I understand that UAVs are the future and are getting better everyday…but still not yet.
I am still head-strong and I would like to see the A-67 be that plane...
I feel that the wing hard point issue on the T-6s will be a problem for Raytheon Beech/Pilatus (whatever they are calling themselves this
week)…Would this require a new wing design? Also, like the Airbus
issue in the KC-X race, Embraer will have an uphill battle (not like the T-6 isn't a foreign aircraft...but the majority of the people do not know that or just don't care.)
Ultimately the OV-10 would be the perfect aircraft for the mission with second to none visibility but the outlining requirements take it off right away. (Two engines and of the wrong type) Availability and not being able to start production again would kill it fast.
AT-37 huh :) righttttt
If not the A-67...why not a Pilatus Porter PC-6?