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counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft comeback?

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counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft comeback?

Old 1st Sep 2009, 02:48
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counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft comeback?

There has been allot of talk amongst USAF officials of a requirement for a counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft.
They have been talking about aircraft like AT-6B, AT-37, OV-10, EMB-314, PC-9 and A-67, and of course extending the use of the A-10.
And of course there is the debate about "why not keep using UCAV's, well the USAF still needs a pilot to "get down and amongst" the action in co-ordination with ground troops, much the same as in the FAC's did in previous wars.

What are some of your views on what would be a good Aircraft?
Also there is talk about outsourcing this need to a private security force.
If all the equipment not having U.S. State Department restrictions on use.
Makes life easier for the USAF and on a short term basis much like the PMCs (Private Military Companies) operating in the theaters of conflicts today.

Any takers?
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 04:51
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I heard that Executive Outcomes (aka Sandline) went bankrupt.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 05:04
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We HAD several threads recently that covered this subject... but a search of the last 2 months' threads found none of them... they seem to have been removed after they dropped off the front page.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 09:09
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I started a load of them, mainly based around the US and Iraq's search for a new dedicated COIN aircraft.

If I remember the prevailing views, UAV's although useful don't have the situational awareness of a slow flying COIN plane with two crew, and cannot operate from the same far forwards rough strip. The Super Tucano seemed to be the aircraftof choice, although some of course suggested Bronco, Pucara and even return of the SkyRaider!

If you look here

Defense Tech: COIN Air Force on its Way

It shows how the USAF are thinking of creating an irregular air force Wing to specifically deal with low intensity operations.

Theren there is this Defense Tech: The COIN Plane Race Heats Up a dedicated attempt to replace the SPAD.

If you are also interested, here is an excellent article by a retired USAF colonel about the need for a COIN PIREP - Irregular Warfare and the US Air Force: The Way Ahead

And here The Penny Drops: Iraq Chooses its COIN Aircraft is an atricle on which COIN aircraft of 4 the Iraqi airforce has chosen - the Texan II, mostly IMHO because it's American.

Listening to the informed on here, I don't really think you can go far wrong with a Super Tucano. It has built in guns (not gatling type weapons, so they will be more accurate), two crew to share spotting and workload, the ability to loiter for 5 hours, and operate from very tough strips (as one article mentions, it's judged very 'heavy' for a trainer but thats a byproduct of its touch build', and I know that it CAN be equipped with JDAM's and a whole range of modern weaponry. Even Brimstone wouldn't be beyond in IMO. Just my 2 pence.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 10:27
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Note, it is the USAF that is supposedly looking for a COIN aircraft. What do they want it for and what do they want of it?

If they want it for use in low intensity operations such as central America then that would not seem unreasonable. If they are considering it for use in Afghanistan as an A10-lite then the requirement is different.

Do they want 'cheap'? Do they want 'rugged'? Do they want all weather and better capability etc?

Unless they tie the requirement down to austere and limited then the only real answer, for the USAF, is the A10.

The elephant in the room however is the US Army. They already have a versatile platform which, although it cannot carry bombs, is possibly more devastating than the A10. As Apache is Army that rules it out for the USAF but I don't see the USAF opting for 'cheap' when it comes to operating a COIN platform themselves.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 11:24
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The USAF have tied down their requirement - it is known as OA-X. Try googling or searching wiki. Super Tucano does, at this stage, look the favourite.

Wader2, not sure I agree with your analysis. Apache wins in some ways terms of weapons and protection (though not necessarily survivability), but what it doesn't have is speed. Super Tucano is maybe 3 times as fast so can cover nine times the area for a given response time - the corollory being that you don't have to have as many bases and/or base your assets in the highest threat areas. I'm also not sure that it's as simple as
As Apache is Army that rules it out for the USAF

Last edited by Occasional Aviator; 1st Sep 2009 at 15:59. Reason: Hamfisted typing
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 12:02
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OA, take your point about speed and delivery times. I think turf wars could be an issue however, just my opinion.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 14:19
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New Coin Aircraft

Just resurrect the beautiful Beaufighter with modern aids and weaponry. Those two big Bristols with sleeve valves could absorb a lot of battle damage! Not for nothing did the Far Eastern Foe call her "Whispering Death."

OK, OK, I know that Useful Stacker and his mates will, quite rightly, point out the lack of Avgas 100/130, so how about a pair of TP 400s? 11,000 shp each should do the trick. The only problem I foresee is teaching the new generation how to land a taildragger.

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Old 1st Sep 2009, 15:54
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"The only problem I foresee is teaching the new generation how to land a taildragger."

Wasn't that one of the issues with the PA-48 "Turbo Mustangs."
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 16:00
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Is it an exat at the Lollipop Farm?
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 19:23
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Out of interest (and with no knowledge whatsover so feel free to flame) how would Hellfire armed Cessna Caravans like the ones supplied to Iraq (I think I read in AFM) fit in to the mix? Potentially even more eyes than a Tucano, but not as quick? Possibly able to operate from more rugged strips?

Feel free to discuss/ignore/flame . . .
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 22:04
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i always thought the PUCARA was a tasty looking aircraft.
i gather one was captured, returned to airworthy condition and evaluated at boscombe down.
can anyone throw some light on the test conclusions??
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 04:48
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Does it have to be Manned?
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 05:34
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Does it have to be Manned?
Not if a women is flying it.

Unless she is an alumni of the East German swim team, then it would be manned.
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 08:00
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You are quite right Mr Fish. It really wasn't that much good. Great aerobatics though!
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 15:30
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Could we maybe see a HEAVLY ARMED Osprey?
I know its still going thru deployment trials, but IF they could make it work , would it not tick all the boxes? speed , armement , with a troop carrying role? SAR-Medi vac role to boot ?????
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 15:55
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The Capability Request For Information (CRFI) is embedded in the story..

USAF officially launches light attack fighter comeback

The US Air Force has issued a request for information to identify sources that can supply 100 new fighters to perform light attack and armed reconnaissance roles.

Air Combat Command released a request for information on July 27 that calls for first aircraft deliveries to start in Fiscal 2012 and the first operational squadron to activate a year later.

The requirements call for a two-seat turboprop capable of flying up to 30,000ft and equipped with zero-altitude/zero-airspeed ejection seats, full motion video camera, data link, infrared suppressor, radar warning receiver and armored cockpit. Weapons must include a gun, two 500-lb bombs, 2.75-inch rockets and rail-launched munitions.

The known for competitors for the requirement include the Air Tractor AT-802U, Embraer Super Tucano, Hawker Beechcraft AT-6B Texan II and Pilatus PC-9.

Michel Merluzeau, managing partner at G2 Global Solutions, wrote earlier this week new demand for counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft could revive interest in the Piper PA-48 Enforcer (pictured above). The PA-48 is an updated version of the World War II-era North American P-51 Mustang, which the USAF evaluated in the early 1970s for a possible COIN role. One potential issue is the PA-48 would not meet the USAF's requirement for a two-seat fighter.

The light attack/armed reconnaissance fleet, if finally approved, would join a growing COIN air force within an air force. The USAF has already purchased 37 Hawker Beechcraft MC-12Ws to serve as manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, filling a role previously served almost exclusively by unmanned aircraft systems.

The USAF also released another RFI earlier this week for as many as 60 light mobility aircraft (LiMA) to airlift up to six passengers or small loads of cargo from austere or unimproved surfaces.
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 17:01
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That upgraded P51 - the 'Enforcer' - I take it that they moved the airscoop from underneath the fuselage to somewhere more sensible for a ground attack aircraft operating within small arms range, yes?

Just looked it up - looks good, although would probably take a lot to modify it enough to accept JDAMs, and IMHO a two seater would be preferrable, from what i've picked up from others.
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 18:29
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COIN Aircraft: US Navy already at work?

Ran across this article a few weeks ago, but it might be older than that.
U.S. Eyes Super Tucano for SpecOps Work
By andrew scutro

The U.S. Navy's new Irregular Warfare office has been looking at an agile Brazilian observation and ground-attack turboprop to provide an "organic" close air support aircraft for special operations forces.
Under the classified "Imminent Fury" program, the Navy has already leased, tested and armed at least one Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, according to Capt. Mark Mullins, a naval special warfare officer serving as the deputy director of the Navy Irregular Warfare Office at the Pentagon.
"This is a close air support, manned aircraft with a pilot and sensor operator. The idea here is that SOF needs an organic capability that can stick with them while they're doing their mission," Mullins said. "We're not buying them; we're leasing them right now. That's an important point."
Speaking March 12 at an exposition on expeditionary warfare in Virginia Beach, Va., Mullins said the intent is to put four of the single-engine aircraft into the fight as quickly as possible.
"Now we're in an operational pause, trying to figure out how to get to Phase II. We need about $44 million," he said. "Back to the method of venture capitalism, we're working with the Air Force and Marine Corps, socializing it with those guys to see if we can get money invested and get to Phase II, where we're taking four aircraft into theater."
The EMB-314 is flown by the military forces of Brazil and Colombia, according to Christine Manna, communications director at Embraer's office for North America in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
As well, Manna said, Chile bought 12 planes and the Dominican Republic bought eight, but the planes have not been delivered yet.
The Super Tucano has a flight endurance of more than six hours, carries several sensors, can be armed with a heavy machine gun in each wing and has mounts for bombs, cannon and rocket pods, according to Jane's All the World's Aircraft 2008-9.
Calling it a "fascinating piece of kit," Mullins said "the proof of concept" is complete after a year of testing. But he described Imminent Fury as his new office's "most contentious project," mostly due to wariness from naval aviation.
"You can imagine the SOF guys and Marines really love this," he said. "The challenge here, and why it's so contentious, is it falls into the seam where it's really not clear whose bailiwick it is. It's not a marinized aircraft. It doesn't fly off the carrier."
Mullins said the Super Tucano can be landed on an unimproved airstrip such as a road, refueled in minutes and sent right back into the fray.
A briefing slide on the Imminent Fury project obtained by Defense News sister publication Navy Times identifies the need for a "tactical fixed wing [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] platform to provide expeditionary, organic Find/Fix/Finish operations for SOF Forces in a maneuverable, long range, low heat signature platform."
The project began following a visit by Navy Secretary Donald Winter with naval special warfare task forces in the Central Command area in October 2007, according to a similar brief.
"It's not about flying in from 1,000 miles away, dropping some thousand-pound bombs and leaving," Mullins said. "It's about working with [the ground force], doing the intelligence preparation of the battlespace, doing a [communication] relay, close air support, eyes on target and if there's squirters leaving the target, keeping up with them and tracking them down and doing [bomb damage assessment] at the end."
Although Mullins said the project is awaiting funding to move forward, a slide in Mullins' presentation indicated it's sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Naval Air Systems Command and the Navy.
"Imminent Fury is a classified Navy initiative to address urgent warfighter needs," said Lt. Sean Robertson, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon. "Initial developmental testing has been promising, and the Navy is currently conducting discussions with our Joint partners on various courses of action as this initiative moves forward."
Mullins delivered an unclassified brief, but details of Imminent Fury remain classified, Robertson said.
The Irregular Warfare office, part of the Navy staff at the Pentagon, was established in July under the direction of Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations. It's headed by Rear Adm. Mark Kenny, a submariner.
"Our goal is to rapidly deliver capabilities and effects," Mullins said. "And we are the CNO's lead for irregular warfare."
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 20:59
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Talking of this subject... straw poll, since this is a network for military Pilots who, the general myth goes, only like jets and whizzy stuff to fly

Who here would be happy to pilot one of these into a combat area (lets use Afghanistan for the purposes of this question) instead of, say, a Harrier? Or not, and if not any particular reason?
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