This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
Hawker Beechcraft, hoping to bolster its case for the $355 million U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) contract, has completed a weapons assessment that involved the launch of laser-guided rockets and bombs.
The Phase III weapons assessment, at Eglin AFB, Fla., involved more than 265 bombs and rockets and 3,000 rounds from AT-6 .50-caliber guns.
Hawker Beechcraft detailed the capabilities during the Air Force Association’s 2012 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition as it continues to outline its case for the Air Force to select its single-turboprop over the A-29 Super Tucano offered by the Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC)/Embraer team.
The demonstration is particularly important since the Tucano has been combat tested while the AT-6 -- based on the Pilatus PC-9 -- primarily has been used as a trainer.
The AT-6 Phase III demonstration marks the first fixed-wing aircraft to launch GATR, TALON and APKWS 2.75-in. laser-guided rockets, Hawker Beechcraft maintains. The aircraft achieved a direct hit with the AGM-114 Hellfire II P+ air-to-surface missile.
Hawker Beechcraft previously demonstrated weapons assessments involving computer-aided deliveries of general purpose and laser-guided bombs. The first two phases of the assessment also involved air-to-ground and air-to-air gunnery using the aircraft’s two guns.
Weapons testing was overseen by the U.S. Air Force Armament Center and the Air National Guard and Air Reserve Command Test center.
The LAS contract is expected to be re-awarded on Jan. 10. The original contract was awarded to an SNC/Embraer team, but later withdrawn after Hawker Beechcraft protested.
Credit: Hawker Beechcraft