AT-6 Wolverine

The AT-6E is a turboprop, light attack/armed reconnaissance aircraft developed from the T-6 primary trainer.

Wolverine incorporates the A-10C’s mission computer, the F-16’s Hands-on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS), Helmet Mounted Cueing System (HMCS), and a digital glass cockpit with three color MFDs for integrated navigation, sensor, and weapon’s management/ delivery. The aircraft can carry a wide array of air-to-ground weapons on six wing pylons and can carry a centerline-mounted MX-15D EO/IR sensor for targeting and tactical ISR.

The AT-6 is equipped with LINK-16/SADL data links, real-time FMV/ROVER for integration with ground forces, and tactical VHF/UHF/SATCOMS. The type was originally proposed for USAF’s Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) requirement that fell prey to budget cuts a decade ago.

The service launched a renewed effort in 2017, kicking off the Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), which evaluated rapidly procurable off-the-shelf CAS/ISR platforms to relieve pressure on existing fleets. USAF procured two AT-6 Wolverines (and an equal number of AFSOC A-29 Super Tucanos) to develop rapidly procurable light CAS/ISR for partner nations. SOCOM opted for neither aircraft, selecting the AT-802U Sky Warden to replace AFSOC’s U-28 fleet instead. After a year of manufacturer certification, two AT-6Es arrived at Moody AFB, Ga., on Jan. 12, 2022, testing the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet) secure-tactical networking for U.S./partner-nation COIN applications. Colombia, Nigeria, Thailand, and Tunisia teamed with 81st Fighter Squadron personnel to develop light attack/ISR tactics with AERONet.

Thailand plans to operate eight AT-6s, Tunisia requested four, and Columbia and Nigeria both operate the similar A-29 Super Tucano. The AT-6Es successfully completed trials on June 14, 2022, and achieved military type certification before being returned to Beechcraft for potential foreign military sale.

Contractor: : Beechcraft/Textron Aviation Defense (formerly Raytheon); Lockheed Martin (mission systems), Esterline (glass cockpit), L3/Harris (sensors).
First Flight: Sep. 10, 2009 (AT-6).
Delivered: Feb. 17, 2021-present.
Production: Three (planned).
Inventory: N/A.
Operator: ACC
Aircraft Location: Wichita, Kan. Planned: Nellis.
Active Variants: •AT-6E Wolverine. Light attack/armed reconnaissance variant of the T-6A.
Dimensions: Span 33.5 ft, length 33.4 ft, height 10.7 ft.
Weight: T-O 10,000 lb.
Power Plant: One Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68D turboprop 1,600 shp
Performance: Speed 360 mph, range 1,700 miles (with four external tanks), mission endurance 4.5 hr (7.5 hr ferry).
Ceiling: 31,000 ft.
Armament: Wide-array of laser/inertial-guided PGMs as well as laserguided rockets (APKWS), AGM-114 Hellfire, and/or .50 cal gun on six wing-mounted hardpoints.
Accommodation : Two pilots on Martin Baker MK16LA zero/zero ejection seats.

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