Textron Aviation Defense LLC, a Textron Inc. company, on March 16 announced the finalization of a $70.2 million Other Transaction Authority (OTA) with the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to equip the U.S. Air Force with twomulti-role Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft, pilot training, engineering services and up to four years of contractor support for maintenance and spares. Textron Aviation Defense delivera the aircraft to the Air Force in support of Air Combat Command’s (ACC) development of operational tactics and standards for exportable, tactical networks that improve interoperability with international partners. The work in support of this OTA, which includes activities in support of military type certification, will take place in Wichita, Kansas.
This acquisition enables the U.S. Air Force to leverage a commercial off-the-shelf, non-developmental integrated weapons system to equip a multi-national coalition with a common system that meets a wide array of training and operational requirements. An affordable solution, the AT-6 cost per flying hour is less than $1,000 and its small maintenance footprint â€” as demonstrated during both phases of the Light Attack experiment â€” underscore the aircraft’s cost-effectiveness, deployability and sustainability.
Air Combat Command’s (ACC) will experiment with the AT-6 to further examine the ways in which a common architecture and intelligence-sharing network will connect platforms, sensors and weapons and deliver a digital network for light attack aircraft. The U.S. Air Force and Navy flew the AT-6 during the Light Attack experiment, putting its combat-proven A-10 mission computer, Wescam MX-15 EO/IR sensor, Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet) and other capabilities to work, employing a substantial amount of ordnance, demonstrating aircrew re-fueling and re-arming at the Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) and conducting other activities in support of experiment objectives. The AT-6 met all of the experiment’s standards and proved itself as a high performance, austere field-capable aircraft that delivers unparalleled mission capability, deployability and sustainability.”
The Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine multi-role turboprop delivers the greatest level of mission configurability, the most advanced ISR technology and the utmost deployability and sustainability. The AT-6 equips operators worldwide with an unparalleled value, ease of training, logistics efficiencies and 85 percent parts commonality with the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II. The AT-6 Wolverine will enter into service at Nellis AFB, Nevada for follow-on light attack experiments by U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and partner countries and is available to its sister business unit, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), for contracted air services under the U.S. Navy’s Terminal Attack Controller Trainer (TACT) program for live-air training of forward air controllers (FACs), joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) and forward air controllers (airborne) at NAS Fallon, Nevada. The AT-6 Wolverine features 35 weapons configurations that fulfill SOCOM Armed Overwatch requirements for Close Air Support (CAS), Armed Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR), Strike Coordination & Reconnaissance (SCAR), and Forward Air Control (Airborne) (FAC(A)).