Light Attack’s Finer Iron

Air Force testers will begin flight tests at the end of March to certify the Lockheed Martin-Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 light attack aircraft to carry precision-guided ordnance, according to a Hawker executive. Weapons trials are the second stage of a Congressionally funded, $15.4 million evaluation led by the Air National Guard to demonstrate the combat capabilities of the AT-6, Derek Hess, Hawker’s director of light attack programs, told reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., last week. Stage two test activities will occur at the Air Force’s test range at Gila Bend, Ariz. Testers will assess the aircraft’s ability to employ laser- and GPS-guidance-aided munitions, using the onboard mission system that the industry partners have leveraged from the A-10C ground-attack platform, for which Lockheed is the prime contractor. Stage one of this work evaluated the AT-6’s combat sensors and communications, said Hess. These AT-6 activities are separate from USAF’s Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance competition, he noted.