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Publications – Air Force buys Brazilian airplanes for Afghan pilots

With all the focus on budget cuts, I found a program I think the military could and should spend more on, and in the Air Force at that:

Just before the New Year, the U.S. Air Force finally selected a new Light Air Support plane for ground attack in counterinsurgency, picking the Brazilian Super Tucano over the American AT-6– whose manufacturer, Wichita, Kan.-based Hawker Beechcraft, is filing suit over the decision [update: leading the Air Force to issue a stop-work order on the 4th]. But just as important as what the Pentagon is buying is how many and for whom: just 20 aircraft, with an option for another 15, which will go not to equip regular U.S. Air Force units but to train the embryonic air force of Afghanistan.

The Air Force Light Air Support program [has] been closely watched as a leading indicator of whether the U.S. military was willing to invest in the kind of low-cost, low-altitude, low-tech airplanes best suited for close air support in counterinsurgency. The answer is, not much.

At $355 million for 20 aircraft – just under $18 million apiece – the Super Tucano buy is peanuts by Pentagon standards….

Click here to see the full story online at AOL Defense.

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