Lockheed, Hawker Beechcraft team for USAF's light attack contest

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Hawker Beechcraft has teamed with Lockheed Martin to offer the AT-6 for a potential US Air Force contract for 100 light attack fighter-trainers.

Lockheed's Owego, New York-based unit will integrate the missions systems for the AT-6, with Hawker Beechcraft remaining the prime contractor, the new teammates announced on 15 September at the Air Force Association's 2009 Air & Space Conference in Washington, DC.

The partners began producing a second AT-6 prototype during the week of 7 September, with this to feature "improved performance and expanded mission capabilities" compared to the first example (below).

 
© Hawker Beechcraft

The AT-6 faces a broad competitive field for the USAF's proposed light attack armed reconnaissance (LAAR) deal. Alenia North America plans to offer the Alenia Aermacchi M-346, Boeing will compete with the OV-10X Bronco and Embraer will offer the EMB-314 Super Tucano.

The USAF has released a request for information to identify potential sources for the LAAR contract. Current plans call for delivering the first aircraft in 2012 and declaring initial operational capability in 2013.