Prop Attack’s Guiding Light

Test pilots dropped three GBU-12 laser guided bombs from the AT-6C light attack aircraft for the first time during tests at Arizona’s Barry Goldwater range. “This was the first time that we brought light attack into the modern generation of weapons,” said Lt. Col. Keith Colmer, a test pilot with the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center at Tucson International Airport, when discussing last week’s tests. “Sometimes, advanced weapons create lift” and strike the aircraft on separation, explained Colmer. “There’s a lot of tweaking that has to be done” to achieve successful separation. The AT-6 entered the second phase of congressionally funded weapons trials in April, and is scheduled to drop 250-pound GBU-58 LGBs and shoot podded .50 caliber machine guns in the air-to-air role this week. AATC plans to fire experimental weapons, including laser-guided rockets, during the final phase of evaluations in December. (Tucson report by Maj. Gabe Johnson)