Beechcraft Claims First for AT-6; Rival Super Tucano Makes LAS Progress

 - September 27, 2013, 1:15 PM
Beechcraft flew the first production AT-6 for the first time on August 20. (Photo: Beechcraft)

Beechcraft claimed a communications first for the AT-6, its losing contender for the USAF Light Air Support (LAS) program. Meanwhile, Embraer described progress in producing the winning LAS contender, the A-29 Super Tucano.

The AT-6 has become the first fixed-wing aircraft to successfully use the situational awareness waveform of the single channel ground and airborne radio system (Sincgars), according to Beechcraft. Twin Rockwell Collins ARC-210 digital transceivers on the AT-6 communicated simultaneously with three joint terminal attack controllers in different ground locations. “Beechcraft’s AT-6 was selected as the first fixed-wing aircraft to perform this demonstration because of its advanced communications and data transfer capabilities, which enable it to perform complex close air support and combat search-and-rescue missions,” said Russ Bartlett, president of Beechcraft Defense.

Beechcraft has not announced any customer for the AT-6, but claims “growing interest from the defense establishment around the world.” The company made the first flight of a production aircraft on August 20.

Embraer said last week that it is on schedule to deliver the first of 20 A-29 Super Tucanos for the LAS program in the middle of next year. They are destined for the Afghan air force. Embraer opened a 40,000-sq-ft final-assembly hangar in Jacksonville, Fla., in March, and has since hired 40 employees to fill “critical positions.” This is the Brazilian company’s third investment in Florida, following the opening of a production line for Phenom business jets and an engineering and technology center, both in Melbourne.



June 2017
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. has restructured the MRJ development program and built one of the best teams in the industry.