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U.S. Company disappointed by Air Force specification for Afghanistan Light Attack Aircraft

Air Tractor, Inc., the number one manufacturer of agricultural and fire fighting aircraft in the world, expressed disappointment with the latest Air Force decision to tailor their Afghan Light Attack requirement toward small acrobatic trainer aircraft. Air Tractor recently adapted its versatile AT-802U to include ISR capability, equipping it with sophisticated sensor devices combined with modern weapons systems in hopes of winning this contract and aiding the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.

Leland Snow, founder and president of Air Tractor stated, "The Air Force has decided to choose a small trainer rather than to hold a real competition for a light attack aircraft for the Afghan Air Corps. Our U.S. made Air Tractor is about one-third the cost of the competition, carries four times the payload, and can stay on station four times longer. That should be simple math for the Air Force." Analysis of State Department narcotic crop eradication costs, as well as operational costs for firefighting and agricultural roles show lower cost to operate and maintain the Air Tractor due to its design simplicity.

The latest Air Force requirement completely disqualifies the U.S. made Air Tractor, which is much more durable and simple to operate, and is much better suited to the dirt landing strips specified in the RFP for the Afghan Air Corps.

The Air Force Request for Proposal specifies a high tech, complex ejection seat aircraft with small wheels on retractable landing gear, which is unsuited for landing on rough dirt landing strips found in Afghanistan. Taken as a whole, these Air Force requirements seem to define a foreign built-excessively complex aircraft. As currently written, this virtually ensures that it will win any fly-off.

The Air Tractor with its agricultural aviation heritage was designed to fly from farm fields. This is what they do every day. It carries more than an 8,000-pound payload. It can fly 150 miles to a forward troop position, stay on station for eight hours, and fly back to base, all with internal fuel in self-sealing fuel tanks. It can carry more than 2900 rounds of .50-caliber ammo and has recently fired the GAU-19/A guns that mount on each wing.

Press release issued by Air Tractor Inc. on June 15, 2010

 

 Contact details from our directory:
Air Tractor Inc. Airframer

 

 Related aircraft programs:
Air Tractor AT-802

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