The US Air Force has issued a solicitation on behalf of the Iraqi Air Force [IqAF] to buy at least eight counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft that can serve a dual role as a intermediate or advanced single-engine turboprop trainer.

A solicitation issued late on 3 May by the US Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) narrows potential bidders to a handful of obvious candidates: including the Hawker Beechcraft T-6, the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, the Pilatus PC-9M and the Korea Aerospace KO-1 Wong Bee.

The ASC document specifies that the aircraft must be in “wide use” today and also be powered a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-based turboprop engine.

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The desire for a high degree of commonality with an in-service aircraft is driving both requirements.

“The COIN aircraft will provide the IqAF with a critical offensive and operational over watch capability in the COIN fight,” the solicitation reads.

The USAF is asking for a single-engine turboprop with an advanced suite of sensors and weapons, to include electro-optical/infrared sensors and a weapons load of unguided and guided air to ground bombs and missiles.

The ASC programme office also seeks the option to buy additional aircraft in annual lots of six aircraft. In the first batch, the first eight aircraft should be delivered from November 2008 to April 2009.