Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is overcoming the "Legacy" pros in the Air Force. aka the jet fighter jocks who still are fighting World War Three instead of the Counterinsurgency operations it has found itself in over the past few decades. With the Stop order in place to end procurement of the F-22 at 187 airframes, the USAF now has some money to actually spend on other projects.
Such as their recent request to launch a program to buy 100 small, light fighter aircraft for strike, armed reconnaissance and aircraft training duties that can support Irregular Warfare.
What are the possible candidates for this USAF 100 palne buy?
(1)Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano
(2)Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II
(3)Korean Aerospace KO-1 Wong Bee
(5)Air Tractor AT-802U (outside chance - but I like it)
(6)Revive the old Piper "Enforcer" (aka a upgraded P-51)
While researching this article, I came across an osting on www.wired.com about (former) Blackwater private security contractor (now known as "Xe"); was also getting into the COIN airforce picture. However, that was back in 2007. Nothing new so far in 2009 if Xe getting into COIN ops.
Did discover a photograph on Danger Room on April 10, 2009 that I wanted to post with this article. Its a photograph of a F-22 parked on the ramp and in the background, the typical "Air Raid: Pearl Harbor" airshow was taking place. A AT-6 converted into a Japanese Zero for the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora" lays down a fake smoke trail after a Kate has "dropped" a bomb in the background. I view this picture symbolic of what the USAF is actually facing in the world today.
Its a COIN World and you need some "slow, low" movers to haul bombs to drop on the enemy than the sleek machine parked in front.
REf. Wired.com/Danger Room "Air Force Stalled for Years on New 'Light' Fighter" by David Axe. August 19, 2009. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/08/air-force-stalled-for-years-on-new-light-fighter/).
Wired.com/Danger Room "Air Force to Get New "Light' Fighter. by David Axe. August 11, 2009. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/08/air-force-to-get-new-light-fighter/).
Wired.com/Danger Room, "Blackwater Buying Counter-Insurgency Aircraft (Updated)" by Sharon Weinberger. August 27, 2007 (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2007/08/blackwater-buys/).
Storming Media.us. a 35 page monograph created in December 2005(A383444) "Back to Basics: An Aviation Solution to Counterinsurgent Warfare" paper by Arthur D. Davis, Air Command And Staff Coll Maxwell, AFB, AL. to order a copy, this is the link (http://www.stormingmedia.us/38/3834/A383444.html).
Photograph from wired.com from article "Obama Asks for Stealth Jets in Iraq, Astan Budget" (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/04/obama-asks-for-stealth-jets-in-iraq-astan-budget/).
Aerospace, Technology, Paranormal, and UFOs News, July 26, 2009 (http://aerospacedreams.blogspot.com/2009/07/return-of-ov-10-what-about-f-7f.html)