Hawker Beechcraft Corp. has started work on a second development attack version of its T-6 trainer and expects to complete by year’s end initial flight testing of the first prototype for USAF’s new Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance aircraft, according to a company release. USAF wants to achieve initial operating capability in 2013. HBC executive Jim Maslowski likened the company’s approach with LAAR to its work on Project Liberty Aircraft (see More Liberty Aircraft on the Way), saying, “We are listening carefully to the warfighter and, together with our partners at Lockheed Martin, we are creating high-end capabilities in a low-cost, low-risk aircraft.” Potential competitors for the planned 100-aircraft LAAR program include Embraer’s Super Tucano, reportedly already under consideration by the US Navy for special operations missions, and Alenia’s M346, which Flight Global reports is also a T-38 replacement contender.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.