AT-6C Texan II Observation/Attack Aircraft


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AT-6C Texan II Observation/Attack Aircraft

  1. 1. AT-6CA New Weapon for Counterinsurgency An Unsolicited Proposal
  2. 2. Agenda• About this briefing• Current Situation• Proposal• Recent USAF Market Survey• Airpower and COIN historical examples• Why a new COIN aircraft (a/c)?• Potential alternative solutions• T-6 Texas II and AT-6C descriptions• Scenarios• Situational realities and cost comparisons• Proposed way ahead and conclusion• Backups Primary author is Ed “Otto” Pernotto, EXCALIBUR founder and USAFR LtCol. His experience inc. multiple a/c, special operations, working with Royal Thai and Malaysian Air Forces, service in Iraq, and CONOPS writing
  3. 3. About This Briefing• Provide a rapidly executable option to increase US and coalition counter-insurgency (COIN) capabilities• This brief is unclassified, unsolicited, and unpaid• This was developed via a collaborative internet process using open source information – Engage American citizenry in national security – Help develop EXCALIBUR R&D process and build a network of motivated and engaged Americans EXCALIBUR R&D: innovatively and collaboratively supporting national security
  4. 4. Current Situation• US forces engaged in multiple COIN efforts: – Major COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan – Smaller scale efforts in other regions: Philippines (PI), Horn of Africa (HOA), other parts of Africa, and around the world – Most agree best result is for US to increase partner nation capacity• These COIN efforts and others that may emerge are likely to go on for many years, possibly decades• Battlefield is becoming saturated with unmanned systems drowning out radio frequencies; manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) still has value, especially with host nation crewmember onboard• US has no current aircraft specifically optimized for COIN, but does have an increasingly more capable personnel effort with AF Special Operations Command (AFSOC) 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS)• Other nations less likely to acquire weaponry unless US takes lead effort US Marine Helping USAF 6th SOS teaching US Army Special Forces an Iraqi Boy Philippine troops Advising Afghan Soldiers
  5. 5. Proposal• US should immediately procure 45 armed Hawker Beechcraft T-6 aircraft, establish a CONUS based training unit, and deploy ~ 20 to Iraq or Afghanistan and 10 to PI or HOA• These aircraft would be operated by re-roled Air National Guard units or could be operated by the US Marine Corps, Central Intelligence Agency, or a Joint/interagency effort• After five years, AT-6C evaluated for future employment – Initial success may pave way for expanded COIN aircraft fleet – If not suitable for US, a/c could be provided to Allied nations Current USAF/USN trainer enables rapid acquisition, modification, deployment T-6A AT-6C
  6. 6. Recent USAF “Market Survey”• USAF requested info for a Commercial-Off-The Shelf (COTS) aircraft for the Iraqi AF (IqAF)• 1st a/c delivered NLT 1 Nov 08, potential of 8 total a/c• The COIN a/c must be/have: – Lightly armored, 2-seat turbo-prop aircraft – A suite of Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensors and laser- guided/unguided air-to-ground weapons/missiles – Share data and imagery with other COIN aircraft – Incorporate an IR threat detection and countermeasure system – Perform dual role as an advanced fixed-wing flight trainer aircraft• Current IqAF inc. UH-1H, MI-17 helos; C-130, King Air transports; small ISR aircraft
  7. 7. COIN Aircraft History: Algeria• Conflict background• Aircraft (Types, numbers)• Operations• Discussion/Evaluation
  8. 8. COIN Aircraft History: Vietnam Early• Conflict background• Aircraft (Types, numbers)• Operations• Discussion/Evaluation
  9. 9. COIN Aircraft History: Vietnam Mid to Late• Conflict background• Aircraft (Types, numbers)• Operations• Discussion/Evaluation
  10. 10. COIN Aircraft History: South America• Conflict background• Aircraft (Types, numbers)• Operations• Discussion/Evaluation
  11. 11. Why a New Fixed Wing COIN A/C?• Current a/c (F-15E/F-16/F-18) fly too fast for effective COIN – Threat does not warrant high end fighter a/c, puts wear and tear on airframes, most missions don’t drop ordnance – Frequent mission is “non-traditional ISR” – But troops in contact or emerging Intel might require striking target• Foreign observers/pilots not carried – US pilots cannot (normally) speak host nation language/dialects – Perception that US is striking targets with no host nation involvement• Most fighters cannot “offboard sensors” – Huge value in getting ISR feed to ground tactical elements and other nodes – Unmanned ISR/Strike great, but airspace/ frequencies saturated• With skyrocketing fuel costs and missions where weapons are rarely expended, cost must become a factor
  12. 12. Potential Alternative Solutions• P-51, T-28, A-1: – Small #’s exist, mostly airshow and museum a/c, – few spares, no production lines exist A-1 T-28 P-51• OV-1, OV-10, A-37: – far too few A/C available, most in foreign or other government service, few spares, no production lines A-37 – New production OV-10D would be excellent but time and cost prohibitive OV-10 OV-1• EMB-314 Super Tucano, Pilatus PC-9/21, KO-1 Wong Bee: – Not US made KO-1 – Would require full test/evaluation PC-21• Thrush Ayres V-1-A Vigilante EMB-314 – Not sufficiently robust for full weapons/sensors – Single seat, no ejection seat V-1A• Cessna Caravan – Great potential as combined lift, ISR, light strike Caravan – Not yet weaponized, no ejection seats• US Aircraft Corp. A-67 and other new design proposals – Immature for now, however might play future role A-67
  13. 13. Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II• System background – USAF/USN primary trainer based on Pilatus PC-9 – Inc. simulators, training devices, management system – Unit cost ~ $4.3 million, ~435 delivered; total to be ~800 – Also used by Canadian and Greek Air Forces• Performance and characteristics – Engine: Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 rated at 1,100 SHP – Speed: 316 knots; ceiling 31,000 ft; range: 900 nm WWII/Korean era T-6 Texan with current T-6A Texan II
  14. 14. Armed AT-6C Texan II Proposal• System background – Based on Hawker Beechcraft T-6B – Unit cost ~ $8-10 Million (based on mods)• Performance and characteristics – Engine: uprated Pratt & Whitney PT6 – Speed: 316 knots; ceiling 31,000 ft; range: 900 nm• Proposed a/c: USAF “Market Survey” as baseline – EO/IR sensors, IR threat detection/countermeasures – Stores: fuel tanks, LAU-68 rockets, HMP-400 gun pods, 250/500 lb LGB’s, laser guided rockets, Hellfire missiles – 3K total load but most missions 1.5 to 2.0K
  15. 15. Iraq Scenario 1: 2009 COIN Close Air Support/ISR (Note: scenario and force list are examples only)• Scenario: – Coalition force list: Military Training Team (MTT’s) with most Iraqi units, 3 X Brigade Combat Teams as Quick Reaction Force (+ enabling forces), 2 X CJSOTF – Threat: Continued low level insurgency, attacks against Iraq governance and military – ROE: Iraq requires Iraqi “in the loop” prior to kinetic strikes• Standard mission: – 3 X AT-6C 2-ships fly COIN air patrols in pre-designated orbits for on call support, time and location vary but intel based – Additional 2-ships on 10 minute strip alert• Situation: – MTT w/ Iraqi infantry ambushed by snipers/RPG’s in urban area – MTT requests AT-6C strike, pass coordinates for JDAM attack, Iraqi AT-6C observer confirms Tgt location with gnd force, strike – AT-6C stays till fuel critical, pass mission to alert launched AT-6C formation• Advantage over today: – Smaller logistics/personnel footprint, much more fuel economical, onboard Iraqi Observer allows Iraqi in the loop
  16. 16. Iraq Scenario 2: 2012 Infrastructure/Border Protection• Scenario: – Coalition force list: Military Training Team (MTT’s) with select Iraqi units, 2 X Battalion Combat Teams (w/enabling forces), 1 X CJSOTF – Threat: residual insurgency, soft Tgt attacks against pipelines, remote infrastructure, continued border infiltration – ROE: Primary mission ISR w/secondary mission strike; Iraq requires Iraqi “in the loop” prior to kinetic strikes, kinetic strikes must use smaller munitions• Standard mission: – Single ship AT-6C fly infrastructure and border patrol missions over predestinated areas, aircrews become very familiar with patrolled areas – Additional aircraft 30 minute strip alert• Situation: – AT-6C crew flies over designated areas to look for unusual patterns/circumstances – Use sensors to ID potential threat truck approaching pipeline, send imagery to ground based Iraqi police, police response force launched, AT-6C maintains “eyes on” – Vehicle flees, police request interdiction, AT-6C strafes in front of vehicle, vehicle stops• Advantage over today: – Smaller logistics/personnel footprint, much more fuel economical, onboard Iraqi Observer allows Iraqi in the loop, onboard human eyes provide greater clarity of observation of area over UAV operator
  17. 17. Current Philippines COIN Scenario• Scenario: – Philippines light infantry company sized units based in previously denied areas, conducting civic assistance missions, advised by US Special Forces (SF) ODA’s with small CJSOTF advising at higher PI higher Hq – Threat: Continued low level insurgency, attacks against populace and govt facilities – ROE: PI requires higher Hq permission with PI pilot/observer releasing weapons• Standard mission: – Single AT-6C fly unit overwatch of jungle patrols, fly overwater looking at boats – Additional 2-ships on 10 minute strip alert• Potential response: – Patrol flushes terrorist cell, ground unit determines fleeing enemy only a few hours away, begin pursuit – AT-6C flies ahead of patrol to search for ambush, ID terrorists in fleeing boats – AT-6C sends images back to higher Hq. and pass imagery to PI Navy forces to interdict, if boats attempt to leave PI territorial waters, strafe to knockout motor• Advantage over today: – PI requires small footprint, current US strike/ISR platforms manpower intensive, – Current PI AF a/c fairly old, lack ability to offboard sensors from strike a/c to units
  18. 18. Realities For Fielding a New Weapons System• Personnel costs among most expensive – USAF currently cutting ~40K personnel, no appetite to increase force structure – Mitigate by using current units, mothball F-16’s, reequip with AT-6C – Minimal workup: pilots qualified in flying, weapons delivery, tactics• T-6A “Texan II” currently operated by USAF/USN – Tech manuals, logistics, pilot/maintenance procedures exist – Training squadrons exist to rapidly stand up AT-6C cadre• T-6 in production in US – Production line/spares available – Pre-engineering work for armed version accomplished Current ANG units/personnel enables rapid training, workup, deployment Mothball F-16’s Convert to AT-6C
  19. 19. Cost Comparison Factors for AT-6C• Purchase cost: – F-22 Raptor $ 190 Million – F-35 JSF $ 94 Million – AT-6 Texan II $ 10 Million – Note: Jane’s Defence Weekly puts cost of F-22 at $338 million each*• Cost per flying hour comparison between current USAF a/c and AT-6. Average flying hour costs in FY2007: – F-15E cost $13,991 per hour – F-16C cost $ 6,649 per hour – A-10 cost $ 4,864 per hour – AT-6C cost $ 700 per hour projected (proven cost for T-6 is $350)• CENTCOM flies ~ 80 strike, electronic warfare, non-traditional ISR sorties daily; if AT-6’s comprised 25% of sorties: – 20 X F-16C sorties = 133K X 30 days = $3,990,000 – 20 X AT-6C sorties = 14K X 30 days = $ 420,000 – 365 X 20 F-16C sorties = $48,545,000 – 365 X 20 AT-6C sorties = $ 5,110,000 *Jane’s Cost estimate include money spent on whole program including research and development. Except where noted, All data extracted from Air Command and Staff College paper “AT-6 – The Best USAF Investment for the Long War” by Brett R. Blake, Major, USAF April 2007
  20. 20. Options for Operating Aircraft• Air Force Air Combat Command – Not much will for operating “low end” a/c or COIN support – Maintaining focus on potential for large scale combat operations• Air National Guard (ANG) – ANG units often seek to maximize relevancy – Allow units to retain personnel in advance of potential further cuts – ISR sensors could enable a/c to assist with Homeland Security missions inc. border patrol, firefighter spotting,• US Marine Corps – Often different mindset: seeking best tool at best value – Rewards innovation and adaptation – Might be willing to try full concept or provide personnel to ANG led effort• Central Intelligence Agency – Long history of operating a/c – This “Air Arm” would be acknowledged with uniformed personnel affording protections under Geneva Convention as combatants Best Choice: Air National Guard
  21. 21. Proposed Way Ahead In Sequence• Combatant Commands issue Request For Forces (RFF): – CENTCOM issue immediate RFF for AT-6C squadron (~20) to deploy ASAP (Iraq or Afghanistan) – PACOM issue immediate RFF for 10 AT-6C’s to PI in conjunction with PhilAF for COIN ASAP• Validate/Funding – OSD/Joint Staff validate requirement – OSD/ANG obtain funding from Congress• ANG Bureau select 3 ANG F-16 squadrons: – 1X training and 2 X operations – seek individual volunteer pilots/maintenance crews – Squadrons would be redesignated “Special Operations Squadrons” and report administratively to AFSOC, assigned to 16th SOW at Cannon AFB• USAF select current AETC T-6 training Sqn to start T-6 pipeline training – Would transition to ANG once initial AT-6C tranche received• Hawker Beechcraft produce AT-6C’s in parallel with current production• USAF Operational Test and Evaluation qualify AT-6C for weapons• After first 10 operational a/c workup, deploy
  22. 22. A Final Note and Dedication• In 2005, 6th SOS pilot Major William Brian Downs wrote an Airpower Journal article titled “Unconventional Airpower” – His opening sentences: • “Despite almost a century of air combat experience, the Air Force today confronts a form of warfare it is ill prepared to wage. In previous wars, we found a way to win by correctly adapting to each particular conflict. Once again we must adjust if we are to bring airpower more effectively to bear in counterterrorism (CT) and counterinsurgency (COIN).” – His closing sentences: • “The war on terror and our efforts against insurgents will take a long time. The US Air Force must adapt itself for the fight” – Major Downs, Captain Jeremy Fresques, Captain Derek Argel,Staff Sergeant Casey Crate, and Iraqi pilot Captain Ali Abass were killed flying North of Baghdad and are buried in Arlington Cemetery• This briefing is dedicated to them Senior USAF and Iraqi AF officers salute at their burial
  23. 23. Conclusion• Our ground forces need an a/c optimized for COIN• The Air National Guard is the right fit• The T-6 Texan II is the best option: – Affordable in unit cost but also in cost per hour to operate – In service, in production; can be rapidly built and deployed Buy, Build, Fly and Fight the COIN AT-6C
  24. 24. This collaborative concept brought to you by Backup Slides Follow
  25. 25. Info/Photo Credits• Briefing Bibliography and Credits: – US military images inc. P-51, T-28, A-1, OV-1, OV-10, A-37 from – A-67 photo from US Aircraft Corp website, V-1A photo from Ayres website, Caravan photo from Cessna site – AT-6 photos/info courtesy of Hawker Beechcraft Corp. – Cost data extracted from Air Command and Staff College paper “AT- 6 – The Best USAF Investment for the Long War” by Brett R. Blake, Major, USAF April 2007 – F-22 unit cost reported in 13 June 2007 Edition Jane’s Defence Weekly – Slide 6 USAF COIN a/c Market Survey: – F-16 photo page by Phillip Kovaric from http://www.f- – Photo Page 21 copyright and used by permission of Mike Paschal• Much more background, documentation, and links at EXCALIBUR R&D, LLC main website here: – or on the blog www.excaliburrd/blog