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PARIS 2013: Rivals Embraer and Beechcraft show off COIN aircraft

Both the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and its arch-rival the Beechcraft AT-6 are both here at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, which is located in the greater Paris region of France. The military presence here is somewhat limited compared to years past due to the lousy budget environment. The US military barely has […]

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A-29 Super Tucano wins LAS tender

Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano has won the US Air Force’s Light Air Support contract to supply Afghanistan with an initial batch of 20 aircraft. But compared to the last go-around for this tender (it was originally awarded in December 2011, before Beechcraft protested and sued); the cost is about 20% higher. My colleague Steve Trimble […]

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Afghan Light Air Support saga continues: Chuck Wald flies the Tucano

Retired US Air Force General Chuck Wald recently (relatively speaking) flew Sierra Nevada Corps/Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Brazilian-designed counterinsurgency aircraft is a contender for the service’s Light Air Support (LAS) tender to supply the Afghan Air Force with some sort of fixed-wing light attack capability. The Tucano had been selected last […]

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British Army eyes Apache upgrade

The US Army will be withdrawing support for sustaining the AH-64D Apache Longbow’s Block I standard by 2017, which poses a bit of an issue for the UK. It’s less than a decade since the British Army’s Westland-completed Apache AH1s entered use (initial operating capability came in October 2004), but the service needs to act […]

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Sight-unseen, USAF extends Boeing’s C-130 laser cannon project

Boeing is still a few wee ks a way from proving whether an experimental laser cannon mounted on an AC-130 gunship actually works, but it need not worry. The US Air Force secured the advanced tactical laser’s short-term future earlier this week by signing a $30 million check, paying Boeing to participate in a three-year […]

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COIN aircraft comeback (part 3): Return of the Bloggers

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 […]

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Update on the COIN aircraft comeback

My post yesterday has sparked a lively discussion at (click here). After reading some of the comments, I think clarifying a few points about what makes a COIN aircraft is in order. So here’s what I think, but feel free to offer your own ideas: a) Area weapons (ie, 30mm cannon, 105mm howitzer, cluster […]

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Breaking news for the COIN aircraft comeback

This blog has repeatedly asked the question: Why doesn’t the US Air Force operate a counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft? And I don’t mean an F-16 with an M61 Vulcan strafing a ground target, but an ugly-looking, turboprop-powered, low and slow aircraft like the A-1 Skyraider, which was used so effectively in Vietnam. It (finally) appears that […]

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What should we do with the US Air Force?

Who wants to abolish the US Air Force? Robert Farley, Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias do. David Axe agrees, but uses the term “disbanded”. Who wants to just take away the US Air Force’s tactical firepower missions? The Armchair Generalist and Otto Pernotto, that’s who. Who thinks the US Air Force should be left alone? Bill […]

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Embraer and the defense market: the roller-coaster continues

Sorry for the lack of new entries during my extended Labor Day holiday. Since I’m still a little bit in the vacation mood, let’s talk about Brazil’s defense industry for a change — specifically, Embraer. Several years ago, Embraer’s highly-respected executive team felt the time was right to make a major play at the world […]

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