Farnborough Air Show

Capabilities expanded for AT-802U

 - July 19, 2010, 8:02 AM

Air Tractor’s AT-802U light attack and surveillance aircraft made its debut at Paris last year, but comes to Farnborough this year with new capabilities. Chief among them is a mission endurance extended to more than 10 hours thanks to a new fuselage fuel tank. This extended loiter capability is of particular benefit in the surveillance role, allowing the AT-802U to remain on station long after other manned platforms have had to return to base.

The AT-802U is based on a proven ag-plane, giving it outstanding rough-strip capability, but incorporates armor and a sophisticated mission suite. The primary surveillance system is the retractable L-3 Wescam MX-15Di multi-sensor turret, which also includes a laser designator. Turret imagery is matched to an AeroComputers UC-5100 moving map to provide real-time targeting and cueing.

Imagery can be displayed on flat-panel LCDs in the front and rear cockpit, the screen in the back being a 17-inch display with split-screen and picture-in-picture capability. An Avalex DVR recording system allows imagery to be reviewed in flight or after the mission, while an L-3 CMDL datalink allows imagery to be transmitted to ground forces, including to Rover-equipped units. The cockpit has also been updated through the adoption of a Garmin G600 EFIS.

AT-802U also brings new weapons capability to Farnborough. The type now has a fully tested gun capability in the form of the General Dynamics GAU-19/A 0.50-inch three-barreled Gatling gun, two of which can be carried on the inner underwing pylons. The Air Tractor can also fire Hellfire and DAGR laser-guided weapons, as well as deliver 500-pound laser-guided bombs and a range of unguided ordnance. Eight hardpoints are provided, three under each wing and two more under the fuselage.

A notable new weapon is the 100-kilogram class Moog/FTS Mini Talon missile, of which six can be carried under the wing pylons. Also known as the Border Protection Weapon, this is a GPS/INS-guided, folding-wing missile with a 12-kilogram warhead that offers a circular-error probability (CEP) of less than three meters, and capability against both moving and stationary targets.