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FARNBOROUGH: Hawker Beechcraft steps up AT-6 sales effort

Hawker Beechcraft's defence arm is taking the opportunity to pitch its AT-6 light attack aircraft to US allies' air forces at the show.

Compatible with the US and NATO Joint Terminal Attack Controller systems, the AT-6 is fitted with a Pratt & Whitney PTA-68D engine, CMC Esterline's Cockpit 4000, Lockheed Martin's A-10C-based mission system and Wescam's MX-15Di sensor suite.

Low-rate production of the aircraft is already under way at Hawker Beechcraft's facilities in Wichita, Kansas in response what Hawker Beechcraft terms "significant indications of interest around the world".

The US Air Force is considering the type for its $355 million light air support contract to supply Afghanistan's air force with 20 turboprop fighters.

The service originally chose Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano for the tender but reversed its decision after an internal review of the selection process triggered by a Hawker Beechcraft lawsuit. A revised request for proposal was issued in May, and last month Hawker Beechcraft filed its detailed response with Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

In a new twist, Sierra Nevada - part of the team pitching the Super Tucano - has since issued a lawsuit of its own seeking the reinstatement of the original award.

For Hawker Beechcraft, Farnborough is also an opportunity to "gauge the market" for its Baron G58 ISR, says the company.

It has on display at its chalet a Beechcraft Baron aircraft outfitted with mock-ups of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors including an electro-optical/infrared camera and datalink.

The Baron G58 ISR has a maximum cruise speed of 190kt (352km/h), a range of 1,500nm (2,790km) and a service ceiling of 6,310m (20,700ft). This allows operators to reach mission areas quickly and safely, flying above weather, the company says.

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