Home » News » Acquisition Reform » Air Force Cans Super Tucano Light Attack Contract

Air Force Cans Super Tucano Light Attack Contract

by John Reed on February 28, 2012

Well, the Air Force just scrapped the  $355 million contract it gave Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corporation for 20 Super Tucano light attack turboprops on Dec. 31.

Remember, the Brazilian Super T beat out Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6 Texan in the light attack contest aimed at providing a counterinsurgency aircraft for the tiny Afghan air force.

Apparently, someone got something pretty wrong in the “documentation” for the deal. So wrong that the Air Force has contacted the Department of Justice about the matter. Uh oh.

Here are the details as reported by Marcus over at Defense News:

the U.S. Air Force plans to negate a decision to award Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer a $355 million contract for 20 light-attack aircraft for the Afghan military.

The move follows efforts to protest the award by Wichita, Kan.-based Hawker Beechcraft, whose AT-6 turboprop lost the bid in December. The company unsuccessfully protested the Air Force decision to the Government Accountability Office and has since filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Now the Air Force says it will “set aside” the contract award as of March 2 to Brazil-based Embraer and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada, for Super Tucano aircraft, according to Jennifer Cassidy, a service spokeswoman.

“While we pursue perfection, we sometimes fall short, and when we do, we will take corrective action,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said in a Feb. 28 statement on the decision.

Donley added that Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren “is not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.”

At the same time, Gen. Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, has launched an investigation into the matter.

On Feb. 28, the Air Force notified the Justice Department of its action, according to Cassidy.

Here’s Sierra Nevada’s response to the cancellation, it doesn’t say much other than, ‘we’re disappointed and we did nothing wrong.’

SPARKS, NV, February 28, 2012 –  Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Air Force that it will set aside the contract issued in December for Light Air Support capabilities (LAS):

“We are disappointed by this decision.  We offered the U.S. Air Force a fully proven and cost-effective Light Air Support solution – and one that would be made in America, create and support American jobs and result in economic investment in the U.S.  We know that our submission fully met the requirements of the U.S Air Force Request for Proposal (RFP) and that Sierra Nevada Corporation fully complied with the RFP process as set out by the U.S. Air Force.

“Today’s announcement only further delays the effort to get critical capabilities into the hands of our men and women in uniform and our coalition partners in-theatre.  It also stymies efforts to create jobs and economic development at a time when our economy needs the boost.

“SNC and our team remain ready to get to work on this important contract. The A-29 Super Tucano, made in America, is the only plane that is capable today of meeting the requirements of the LAS mission. Nothing changes the fact that the war-fighter needs this capability immediately.”



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{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

Mastro February 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I wonder if some Brazilian-US trade talk/deal just broke down.


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm

just in the past week, there are talks about Brazil President announcing the selection of the French Rafale for the FX2 program before the middle of the year, specially now that India bought that same plane.


Mike March 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Obama might cancel the cancellation. George Soros own part of Embraer.


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Sounds more like a political decision than technical.


mpower6428 February 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm

and this is how the airforce does business…? how much money was wasted in man hours typing emails back and forth for months on end while this sad senario played out.


the airforce has never been and, will never be interested in a cost effective "prop driven" close support aircraft. especially now that they've invested in an A-10 refurbishment program.

i mean really, has the airforce ever bought an airplane that didnt require a logistics tail measure in thousands of tons and manhours to support…? how would they justify their budget…?

its all a freakin scam.


HiPowerGuy July 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Ohhh c'mon now Mpower6428!! The A.F. couldn't just sit back, and watch the Army WASTE over $100 million on the last 3 M4/M16 rifle replacement trials over the last 12 years and do NOTHING now….could they.

I mean, a simple fix of a better upper ( i.e heavier barrel, better o/s system; ADCOR B.E.A.R for example ) a better trigger and maybe a better muzzle brake which could surely take a weapon that has not been replaced for almost 50 years due to there not really being a BETTER one. And make it last , oh….maybe another 30 years and save a bunch of wasted money! Now, that is surely a DUMB idea :-)


JE McKellar February 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Of course they cancelled the contract, the Afghan military has turned against the US occupation. There's no longer any need for the planes.


passingby February 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

hmmmmm … the Afghan military might be in war with the US military when the full extent of US war crimes against Afghan civilians and the country become widely known.

doubt that the US has the slightest intention of leaving Afghanistan. The phony "war on terrorism" is just a smoke screen. There are more important businesses on the secret agenda.


Commisar12 February 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm

ah yes, our resident troll.


passingby February 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

… if speaking the truth constitutes trolling.

just wanted to inject a bit of reality to the feeble, ignorant, naive minds of the chronically brainwashed.


Brain fade February 29, 2012 at 8:49 am

Either you just say stupid shit because that is the extent of your brain power or you are a conspiracy theorist nutjob who thinks that everyone is out to get you. So which is it?


Thomas L. Nielsen February 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

Why do you pose that as en either-or question?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


dddd February 29, 2012 at 12:28 am

COIN aint da future. It be bout railguns, omar.


Grammar Police February 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

"It be bout"

You may want to take a remedial English course.


Kosme February 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

You may want to take a sarcasm course.


HiPowerGuy July 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm

What do you mean NO LONGER A NEED….jeeeesh, do you know HOW MANY MULES that would have saved the Afghan Military Drug Smugglers ? At least 1000 a year…that adds up now……trained mules are not CHEAP ya know!

And YES, they have to be trained to negotiate those tight mountain trails and not fall over the edge.


Musson1 February 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

You guys are missing the part where this is being referred to the DOJ.

Someone either bribed someone. Or, they altered the contract after the fact.


EJ257 February 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Sounds like the tanker deal all over again. Didn’t someone go to jail for that during the 1st round when it was initially awarded to Boeing?


Dfens February 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Darlene Druyun? Yes, she did 9 months. Boeing really suffered too. They managed to jack the development cost up from $1 billion to $6 billion and dragged it out for a decade before it was finally cancelled. They only cleared $600,000,000. You can be sure they learned their lesson — about how stupid the US taxpayer is. And what did you get for the $6 billion the USAF wasted? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Of course, Boeing things you're too stupid to be allowed to keep that money anyway. I'd love to be able to say they're wrong.


blight_ February 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm


You know, if the IRS/SEC(?) audited how the DoD did procurement, there'd be generals in jail…


Dfens March 1, 2012 at 10:49 am

Unfortunately what they do is morally wrong, but not illegal. We need to make it illegal. Until that happens, we will continue to get more of the same, our military will continue to get weaker, our weapons will continue to be more expensive and less effective. There's plenty of incentive to fix the problem. My question is, where is the out rage?

HiPowerGuy July 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Isn't that just NORMAL Afghan contract bits and pieces?


Roy Smith February 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

We need to get the hell out of Afghanistan NOW. The list of “friendly” countries that we are able to pass through or over to logistically supply Afghanistan are getting fewer & fewer. There was never any serious attempt to win the war in Afghanistan. A lot of soldiers,sailors,airmen,& marines died in this fiasco. Never mind that the Air Force had NO serious intention of buying the Super Tucano or any turbo-prop COIN aircraft for that matter for any reason. Our troops & NATO needs to ride their vehicles & equipment out of Afghanistan through either Turkmenistan &/or Tajikistan,& then fly out of Kyrgyzstan,contract ferries to move ground equipment across the Caspian Sea to Georgia & Azerbaijan,& then ship them through the Black Sea back to Europe(Italy & Germany). We need to get out NOW.


tiger February 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Well if relations with Pakistan were not so bad such a route would not be needed. Till things with Iran get settled, I don't think strategically you can leave just yet. Afghanistan for bad or worse sits in the middle of things.


Roy Smith February 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Afghanistan is landlocked & is surrounded with unfriendly/potentially unfriendly nations. If you can’t get in or out of Afghanistan,by land or air,then NATO & our troops are trapped. They’d have to go through [pick a nation] like Sherman’s march through the South just to leave Afghanistan.


tiger February 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

All Heavy items have to go by sea. For better or worse We Need To Make Pakistan happy.


Roy Smith February 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm

That’s true,Pakistan is the best route to go for getting the heavy items out to sea,that’s why I gave the crazy scenario of “Plan B”,land route through Turkemistan & Tajikistan,ferry the equipment across the Caspian Sea to Georgia & Azerbaijan,transport them across country to the Black Sea & then sail them out. This extreme scenario is in case we have burned the bridges so badly with Pakistan that we can’t use them to transport our equipment out to ports. We also know that it will be a cold day in Hades before Iran allows us to use their ports to leave Afghanistan.

Craig February 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

Less Sherman and more Xenophons Anabasis, I would think. There would probably even be Persians involved!


blight_ February 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Oh yes indeed.

And for modern comparison, it'll be an aerial evac like Saigon in '75. Presumably with just as much hysteria for hapless Afghan police and the whatnot trying to escape Hekmatyar and Taliban execution squads.

tiger February 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

"Donley added that Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren “is not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.”

What the hell is that code speak for????


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Probably irregularities. All it takes is using some supplier known to procure counterfeit parts?


raging.dragon February 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm

My guess is that the documentation includes incomplete test results, or test results that suggest the inferior airplane was selected, thus leaving auditors suspecting the contest was comprimised by bribery, conflict of interest, etc..


HiPowerGuy July 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm

NO, NO, NO ….after Karzai'a brother died, there is no one that is PROPER to pay off now, it would be total strangers. And that cannot happen, it would not be….ahhhh…well……KOSHER!!! :-)


Stephen Kandul February 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I only spent about 32 years in acquisition in the Army, Navy, and Air Force working on systems like the Trident, R&D and Installation Support, so my opinion is less than knowledgeable.

If the award decision documentation is not up to speed it can mean a variety of things…for example. The selection process documentation does not address the criteria of the RFP, the Source Selection Authority decision does not conform to the RFP, or the Source Selection Process simply does not document in writing in the decision/recommendation documents the evaluation criteria laid out in the RFP.

The notification to Justice may indicate that review of this controversial source selection process has discovered indications of criminal activity…bribes, kickbacks, etc. This is not un-known in USAF and other DOD acquisitions. Many in the profession still wonder how Halliburton got a FIVE YEAR sole source contract on grounds of urgency.


HiPowerGuy July 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Oh cmon now….that was just a COINCIDENCE that Halliburton made untold BILLIONS of unsolicited contracts. After it was initially reported that the total amount was no more than $5-8 million. Later turned out to be just a intsy, wintsy bit more, like….Mmmmmmm TWENTY FIVE BILLION OR MORE…but hey, ….who is REALLY counting…:-) Oh…..HALLIBURTON, and TRICKY DICK :-) HINT: its not Nixon, and he shoots friends in the head that disagree with him…errr….I mean….by accident!!! :-)


Jayson February 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Want to make both kids happy? Buy a set of both. 10- 10, up the contract and 20 and 20.

I personally can't see 20 A/C covering Afghan country very effectively at all.

Maybe get some allied nations to chip in on the costs even. Brazil can do a lend lease to Karzai.

mmm … I must be making this too simple lol.


John February 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Lets see here it's the year 2012 and yet WW2 fighter planes had more firepower,range and better climb rate than the two planes in question here,am i missing something here?


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Missing alot… you missed this points made here in this site when the plane was selected months ago. cannons had more power than todays rockets, doesnt mean they can do a better job than a currently highly developed rocket nowdays. its not a air fighter plane, its a light close support plane.


tiger February 28, 2012 at 10:45 pm

But your WW2 plane lacks the modern Avionics, a ejection seat, no need for av gas,etc. etc.


Dfens February 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

You definitely aren't the one missing anything here. In fact, you seem to be one of the few to actually catch on to what a piece of crap this whole program was. Either one of these airplanes would be lucky to get off the ground with a full tank of fuel on a hot, humid day in that God forsake place. Apparently all of their "ground pounding" would be done with the pilot's service pistol on those days.


ajspades March 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Oh, I don't know about that. I think that it is a very astute observation that we haven't designed something that can match up to what was done in WWII. Look at the Reno air races, it is all WWII aircraft. I can see it as a problem of motivation, during WWII it was nearly the end of the world. God forbid someone is motivated "just because it is there" to build an aircraft that can compete against a T-6, P-51, or A-1.


TGR February 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Is it finally time to fire AF acquisitions? This aircraft would have saved millions of dollars while better supporting the troops in COIN with less personnel. Too bad the leadership in question can't figure that out.


Jonathan February 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm

My theory is that the Air Force realized they were getting ripped off. I was shocked when I first read the news at how much these planes were going to cost a piece. Something like 20 million each? There is no way a prop plane should ever cost 20 million unless it's a long range bomber. I think the avionics was the justification for the enormous price tag, but that was bullshit in my opinion. They were trying to fleece the government. Im sure HBC or whoever the other competitor was, were trying to do the same. That's probably why the Air Force is throwing a big monkey wrench into it. It's just not worth the money.

Hire some airplane kit builder who sells this class of airplane on the commercial market for 100,000$., and give them a simple design to add weapon mount's and a two way radio. Can build these airplanes for well under 500,000 a piece.

Defense spending is measured in billions nowadays for anything we try to do. It's shameful.

That's my opinion, a non military civilian, who still thinks a million dollars is a TON of money.


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm

The reason why the plane that won was more expensive was not just the fact that it is way different from the its DNA on, but the package in which it was proposed would have alot more then just material being put into place.

The setup necessary for the full support of this plane in the US and in Afghanistan would have to be created in both places, as for the Hawker plane, the US already operates the same model as the basic trainer, so the logistics is already in place, even if not in production anymore, it is still being maintained. So the fly away cost of the first 20 would be $$$, but then the (possible) future orders would cost $$.

When you take into account that the Super Tucano making capabilities currently does not exist in the US (organized for that porpouse that is, not lack of qualified labor force), It would have to be built up to the task, thus increasing the initial cost. even USAF pilots would have to be trained. ( you can be a F22 pilot and still need training for different aircrafts)

On the hawker side however, given that every USAF pilot has already used the trainner model of their plane, it would far cheaper to adapt them to the platform, not to mention the possibility of basic support being done by the airforce crew instead of the company once in Afghanistan.

If embraer provides the plane, they have to really setup 100% of logistics (hardware, know-how, partners, plant, man power). Hawker doenst.

Its not just buying a airplane, its buying a package. We cant look at this thinking its like buying a gun at your local gun shop.


blight_ February 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Practical thinking that doesn't hinge on bottom dollar tends to exist only in wartime, and disappears just as quickly.


Amicus Curiae March 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

"There is no way a prop plane should ever cost 20 million unless it's a long range bomber"
Jonathan, you need to educate yourself about how much it costs to design and build airplanes. What you think it should cost is not reality.

"Hire some airplane kit builder who sells this class of airplane on the commercial market…"
They did that, as far as I'm concerned. As it happens, the Tucano is the only airplane in production now that is suitable. The AT-6, which is a derivative of the Pilatus PC-9 (another foreign aircraft) needed much more work to get it combat capable.
"Defense spending is measured in billions nowadays for anything we try to do. It's shameful."
It costs what it costs. I assume you are saying you think it is not worth it? Maybe so. In order to establish that, we would have to go to war with equipment we know to be inferior and see how we do. That is the track we are on now. Be happy.


Amicus Curiae March 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

"a non military civilian, who still thinks a million dollars is a TON of money. "
That is a description of a very thrifty airplane buyer. You should be working for the government. Good luck with that. You would not find anyone answering your solicitations for the budgets you have in mind, so you would buy nothing. It may be right the way to go, especially when considering a program like this. This project is a diplomatic one, not a military one. The US is trying to establish a professional military organization in a tribal wasteland, and the COIN aircraft project is their vehicle. The USAF has no requirement for a turboprop COIN and shouldn't have one.


tiger March 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm

You can't even get a starting MLB pitcher for $1 million anymore.


Claudio Rubens February 28, 2012 at 11:49 pm

As a Brazilian i think that we also would not buy from US Boeing Co. about 160 jet SuperHonet, and look for another country that real want to do business for bothsides as strong partners. Claudio


Musson1 February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am


I sympathize with your feeling of rejection. But, a large part of the US commercial aviation fleet are Brazilian built TurboProps. I have ridden on plenty.


MC February 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm

and likewise a large part of brazilian commercial fleet are US built props/***** – that has nothing to do with this, though; all (most of) those purchases are made on pure economical/technical merit, not internal/external politics/bribery.


MC February 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm

erm… since when the abbreviation of ‘helicopters’ can constitute an offensive enough word to justify its censorship?!? LOL


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Yes, and we with respect buy from Us suppiers, but is getting change!! Nowadays TAM biggest Brazilian Airlines who joined with LAN they are going to have AIRBUS aircraft (from Europe) instead Boeing!! why??
Claudio Rubens Brazil


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm

But Musson1, we are or not a partner??? Or in your understand we should approuch Chinese or Russians. I dont think so!. The problem there is the same here! the Congress, the polititians. Fortunately, all Brazilians we love and respect US. Thanks for yr comments. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


major.rod February 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Uh, according to a poster above your pres said earlier this week your buying the Rafael instead of the F18 (like India).

If he's accurate sounds like your country reneged first, allie?


Rodrigo March 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Allie? as in ally? well.. Being an ally is one thing… being a puppy dog to follow US arround is another.

Uranium238 February 29, 2012 at 1:33 am

I still can't get my head around why our Air Force would go with a foreign airplane when we have had such incredible innovations in the first place.


Thomas L. Nielsen February 29, 2012 at 2:09 am

Possibly because the foreign aircraft was the best one available off-the-shelf?

As for the "incredible innovations" in US aerospace industry, I'm not saying that the US can't build excellent or even world-class military aircraft. However, the development processes (at least in later years) do have a slight tendency to drag on and on, with the final products increasing in price at the same time (*cough*cough* F-35 and F-22 *cough*)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Good comments! congratulation!
Claudio Rubens, Sao Paulo-Brazil


tiger February 29, 2012 at 8:34 am

As hard as it is to believe, there are other folks of the planet that can build stuff. It did not bother us in WWI to fly Nieports & Spads? In WWII, the 4th, 31st & 52nd fighter groups flew Spitfires for part of the war. USAAF flew nighter variants of the Bristol Beaufighter as well as Spits and DH Mosquito F.8′s. (414th, 415th, 416th, 417th Night Fighter Squadrons.)

Let us not forget the Martin B-57. A Americanised English Electric Camberra.


Mitch S. February 29, 2012 at 9:15 am

And the Harrier/AV-8


MC February 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm

you’re forgetting the part where if you want to keep your foreign markets intact, it might be in your best interest to open up your internal market as well, otherwise your costumers might start to look elsewhere for suppliers – you know, it’s called ‘reciprocity’…


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

That is right!! You are completely right! Thanks Claudio-Brazil


major.rod February 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Wow, no comments that the hawker was cheaper and in almost every category (except internally mounted guns) equal to the Tocano. That Tocano propaganda was effective.

How about we see what the DOJ finds and see if the "Tocano love" surves the STD of an under the table deal.


Vaporhead February 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

With the amount of money we send overseas in the form of "donation" per year, we could easily finance and improve our existing weapons systems, like the A-10. Spend our money here, not send it overseas rebuilding places we destroy.


McDonald April 3, 2012 at 1:56 am

you are right, usa destroy a lot of place in people in the world, maybe the world could be better whit out usa sistem… i like american but really hate the system… ekaaaaaaaa


jamesb February 29, 2012 at 9:32 am

I know there are 56 comments above mine so I'm sure I repeating the obvious….
The ARMY should have bought this aircraft……
I predicted on this blog that the Air Force would can this a/c because it does NOT go fast enough….
Just as the C-27J has been put on the shelf……
The Army gets screwed again!


Riceball February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

The Army can't buy the Super Tuscano or any other fixed winged aircraft that's armed because of this little thing called The Key West Agreements in which the Army agreed that they would not operate armed fixed winged aircraft and would leave that to the Air Force.


Mitch S. February 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm

The JCA (C-27) could have been given to the army but the AF took it over to kill it.


robertro2 February 29, 2012 at 10:18 am



Thomas L. Nielsen February 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

Uhm….you do know that the planes were supposed to be built in the US, right?

As for your kind wish that they all crash and burn, since there won't actually be any aircraft, you won't see that wish come true.

Oh, and for the love of Sweet Zombie Jesus drop the all caps, would you? Please? Typing in all caps adds nothing, and reading it makes my hair hurt.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

But Robertro2, i dont know if you know or not! Boeing (famous US Co.) want to sell war jet to Brazil (SuperHornet), Mr Obama, with respect, is doing hard when he came to Brazil to convince us to buy 160 SuperHornet, saying "we are brothers country"! but i dont seem like that!! France, Switzerland and Russian are more friendly!!! Unfortunately, Us dont trust in your partners, only in Israel. Claudio Rubens. Sao Paulo-Brazil


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm



BRASS February 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

Likely as not this is another of Harry Reids' pork barrel awards to his home state contributors or supporters. He is used to getting his way without question, this may stick in his craw and upset his record.


political observer February 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I am glad to see that George Soros's Brizian company will not get the contract, I had reservation about awarding to the Brazilain firm. if you are not aware George Soro hass interest in a Brazilain oil exploration company the was given $2 billions to subsidize oil exploration in the mid Atlantic off of Brazil. Why didn't US firms receive the money to exploe for oil in the Gulf of Mexico??????????.


tiger February 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

We are talking apples & you just vered off into potato growing……..


Claudio Rubens February 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I really appreciate if George Soros can go to Gulf of Mexico, this guy is a speculator, not good for our economy! Why dont you read about Mr.Eike Batista, Brazilian serius investor who will be in the next 4 year more rich than Mr.Carlos Slim, more rich man in the world!. pls read about Mrs Eike Batista, see on Google who he is, what he has!!. He has Oil, Gold, Iron, Ships, Private ports, etc…etc….
thanks Claudio Rubens, Sao Paulo-Brazil


Brian February 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm

What was wrong with the OV-10 Bronco?


Jeff February 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I actually suspect this is a legal issue. It sounds to me (without knowing any backstory) that the AF acquisition folks screwed up the docs (probably made some requirement ambiguous or was not clear enough that some piece was a requirement), which is what resulting in Hawker's entry being rejected. Hawker then files a claim to challenge the award, and after looking at it, the AF is having to acknowledge that they may have screwed up.

Rather than pursuing a contract that they may ultimately lose in litigation (or via some settlement), they canned the Tucano contract.

If this is the case, then typically the thing would be rebid with the errors in the bid docs corrected. Of course politics may take over and prevent it from being rebid, or perhaps I'm completely off track.



Alex February 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Referring this matter to the DOJ is the tell all clue here. Someone pulled a fast one, and instead of being left to hold the bag, the AF did the right thing. We didn't need a repeat of the legal issues stemming from the tanker lease debacle a few years ago.


L Berry February 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Anyone ever heard of the buy American Act? Sure some jbs would have been created to modify it and add couple tons of avionics so some Afgan, who couldn't operate it, would screw it up.
Rumors around Wright patt is DOJ will find another Darleen Druyun (Boeing Tanker fisaco). Some of these high paid SES types don't have the integrity of a Military type. So wait on the 6'oclock news for more.


Twixter March 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

Hmm, maybe they will go for Ju-87?


blight_ March 1, 2012 at 9:14 am

battle-tested, am I right?


Thomas L. Nielsen March 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

Ask Hans-Ulrich Rudel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Ulrich_Rudel).

I'm sure he'd tell you a story or two…. :-)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


blight_ March 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

We could use the dive bomb and tank-buster variants. Call it the Joint Strike Turboprop with two variants to save money. What a deal.


popsiq April 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

How many aircraft are needed for a photo-op?

Supplementary, are there enough 'fully-trained' Afghan fliers to man them?


tiger February 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Ugh…… Different misson needs. The A-10 was meant to kill tanks. Not loiter low and slow an kill guys in pick up trucks. Nor is a A-10 as easy to fly or maintain as a Tucano. Thus the point of the program.


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Would be akin to using F-15's to shoot down Polikarpov biplanes.


passingby February 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm

actually the A-10 was meant to loiter low and slow and to attack not just tanks, but all vehicles armored or not, artillery pieces, and troops.

that's precisely why the F-35 can't possibly replace the A-10.


mpower6428 February 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

take too your soapbox on somebody else's comment, maybe something a little more germaine.

last i heard (very recently btw) was the A-10's were gonna get an airframe rebuild.

take your war bonds and stuff'em. "the forever war" was an excellent piece of science fiction, not chapter and verse from "mathew,mark,luke and john.


passingby February 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm

well, they actually believe that the F-35 can replace the A-10. so …

the F-35 will likely face cancellation for one reason or another, assuming sanity can prevail.


TMB February 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm

It ensures the right people (in our opinion) get the contract and if the Afghans blow the money, they'll still ask for more crying "we can't win the war without it, no matter the costs!" The Iraqi government wasted billions of our money but we still shoveled it to them because we cared about fighting the war more than they did.


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Tell 'em to put rocket pods on a PC-12.


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm

The alternative is to gradually pull out heavy equipment through strategic airlift. Anything that won't fit on a C-17 probably couldn't be moved via a truck owned by Pakistanis through the Khyber and to the seaports.

More likely than not, it will be cheaper to just give hardware to the Afghans, unless it is potentially useful to the enemy. Anything useful that cannot be moved will be destroyed in place.

Realistically, the evacuation of the military will require very slow phased withdrawals to key bases with major airports (Bagram or Kandahar?) probably use tactical controllers to get the last aircraft out (with security troops), which will then be exfiltrated to a carrier offshore. Since the locals hopefully won't have MANPADS to turn on the Americans, the evacuation shouldn't require a Chosin reservoir style withdrawal. More ideal is to do the evac at night and hope people don't get a clue and start coming at the gates trying to get in while you have reduced security forces. It will still be dicey to be the last troops in Afghanistan.


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Wings, at least. http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&it

The larger program is "Thunderbolt Life Cycle Program Support", but working on finding more info on it. There's blurbs about NG, Boeing and others, but a central source is what I want to find.


tiger February 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm

The USAF budget says other wise. The PA ANG has already lost their A-10's.


Vaporhead February 29, 2012 at 8:14 am

A-10 units are already realizing their fate, since it's becoming very difficult to find available parts that were once easy to come by.


ajspades February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am

Haven't read the "Forever War". I'll have to look it up. Thanks to blight_ for actually posting with a link and some backup info.


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Just a note, A-10's cost alot more to fly than either of the pro planes in the process.


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm

No sanity in war.


passingby February 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm

well, the US has had no complaints about the F-22 which costs almost 350 million a piece including R&D. And that's before the plane has been fully tested and proven.


Rodrigo February 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm

true, but now the US owes china alot of money to be giving away "military gifts"


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

To the boneyard!

Then again, Duluth lost its alert squadron of F-16's.


blight_ February 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Then just seize the order and use it yourselves. If the military don't want it, give it to the CIA. Bet you the DO will find a use for CAS aircraft.


FormerDirtDart February 29, 2012 at 9:38 am

buy some AC-208s?


Amicus Curiae March 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

Perhaps you are not aware that the Hawker-Beechcraft competitor was a license built Pilatus PC-9 derivative?


blight_ February 29, 2012 at 9:50 am

America or the Afghans?


Uranium238 February 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

No kidding! The A-1 has a very strong track record from the Korean War to Vietnam and the Guard!


tiger February 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Hate to burt that bubble, but they are all long gone from storage.


mpower6428 February 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

its a good book and, yes, blight wins. i have no answer for that.


blight_ March 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

No, I wasn't.

Interesting that our choices are a Pilatus and an Embraer.


USAF March 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Do some research next time. You will see that the AT-6 has zero parts, not one, in common with the PC-9. Just more false info


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