Branching Out

Hawker Beechcraft wants the Air Force to consider an attack variant of its T-6 trainer to fill the Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance aircraft role the service wants to fill within the next couple of years. Hawker announced last week that it had conducted a successful first flight of its AT-6 prototype and would complete the next phase of flight testing in October. “We are almost three weeks ahead of schedule,” said Bill Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft CEO, and added, “We believe the AT-6 offers the broadest range capabilities available in the market.” For the light attack role, the company has structurally strengthened the T-6 airframe. As we reported last month, the Air Force has put out feelers within industry to find a platform that can operate from dirt fields and employ a variety of air-to-ground weapons. It wants to field the first of 100 aircraft by 2012.