Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Why does the US Air Force still need propeller fighters? | World


On February 17, the US Air Force received the first single-rotor combat aircraft AT-6E Wolverine (manufactured by Beechcraft of Textron), according to Textron Corporation’s announcement. This is a light fighter model developed from the T-6 Texan II trainer line, which is used to train basic pilots.

Classic aircraft, modern features

Before that, the US Air Force plans to purchase at least 3 of these for a program called the Extended Aerial Information Forwarding Network (AEROnet). AEROnet aims to develop a low-cost data transmission and sharing mechanism to support allied forces and partners to work together in affiliate campaigns.

The AT-6 Wolverine evolved from the T-6 Texan II trainer line for basic pilot training.

AT-6 was built as a light fighter and also functions as reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence. The AT-6 differs from the T-6 Texan II trainer in that it has six under-wing pylons that can carry weapons such as laser precision-guided bombs; rockets, laser-guided rockets, and machine guns.

Despite using a propeller engine, the AT-6 is equipped with modern optoelectronic devices, advanced sensors, satellite communication systems … AT-6 also has a computer. of the A-10 tank destroyer and the same cockpit control system of the F-16.

The aircraft could serve as an air relay station for ground forces, which have long relied on expensive, large reconnaissance aircraft, according to The Drive. Not to mention the AT-6 can also engage in attacks like fighters with low operating costs, reducing the maintenance of costly jet fighters in the current world situation without the need. Use expensive fighters.

Why does the US Air Force still need propeller fighters?  - Photo 2

AT-6 Wolverine during a laser guided GBU-12 (250 kg) bombing test in the Arizona desert, USA, 2011

Small but martial

The propeller-powered fighters were commonly used in the 1st and 2nd world wars. It was long thought that the era of propeller aircraft was over, replaced by fighters. high-speed jet, fly far …

In the above article Forbes in 2017, US Air Force Colonel Michael Pietrucha argued that after the end of the Cold War, US jet fighters were only engaged in real combat in the 1991 Gulf War and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Event 11.9.2001.

Since then, when there is a request to support aerial firepower from the small-scale skirmishes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US military has to mobilize fighter jets such as the F-16, F-15, F- 18 is considered excessive waste. Therefore, the need for a compact, inexpensive but fully featured fighter like the aforementioned fighters is raised.

Why does the US Air Force still need propeller fighters?  - Photo 3

The first AT-6E Wolverine was officially handed over to the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Base in Ohio on February 17, 2121.

The A-29 Super Tucano (Brazilian Embraer is affiliated with the US Sierra Nevada Corporation) and AT-6 Wolverine are provided for this need. This aircraft is used well in the Middle East with 2 seats, light armored, equipped with photo-electronic equipment that works well day and night, and high-precision weapons.

In particular, these aircraft are very fuel-efficient compared to jet fighters. They can operate for twice the time of a jet without refueling. The amount of fuel an F-16 uses to roll off the runway is enough to spend 1 hour on a light propeller fighter, Forbes.

It’s very difficult to shoot down

In terms of their likelihood of being shot down, propeller jets are arguably not the priority targets for modern (and also very expensive) air defense systems designed to destroy high-end targets like injections. jet fighters, bombers, missiles …

The propeller light fighters mainly operate in small contested areas where the basic anti-aircraft weapons are shoulder-mounted heat-range missiles, machine guns and anti-aircraft artillery. However, propeller planes have some superior survivability advantages over jets.

Why does the US Air Force still need propeller fighters?  - Photo 4

The AT-6 cockpit is equipped with avionics as modern as fourth-generation aircraft like the F-16.

Quiet operation: Most air defenders on the ground mainly hear aircraft engines to determine the direction of the target’s movement and aim. But propeller fighters fly very smoothly, hard to detect. The author of the above article Forbes said experience in using the AT-6 and A-29 has shown that their sounds are difficult to detect, and once you hear their sounds you are within range of these planes.

Does not emit heat: Heat-seeking missiles rely on heat radiation emitted from engines or fuselages (heat due to high-speed flight friction) to detect and strike the target. The fan motor’s exhaust stream is dissipated by the wind and is also not hot enough to boil a glass of water. In addition, the aircraft also has the ability to detect enemy missile launches and respond by firing flares against missiles. So light fighters like the AT-6 and A-29 may be less vulnerable to heat-seeking missiles than jet fighters.

Why does the US Air Force still need propeller fighters?  - Photo 5

Quiet flying, difficult to shoot down, the AT-6 Wolverine is truly a formidable light fighter.

Small, hard to hit: Seen from the nose of the plane (when the plane crashes), an AT-6 or A-29 is present as a very small target (AT-6 is as small as half the size of a tank destroyer A) -10), thus making it very difficult for an anti-aircraft gunner to aim. According to Colonel Michael Pietrucha, 15 years of experience fighting extremist forces in many battlefields shows that propeller fighters that fly faster than helicopters are rarely hit by small guns, and never before. crashed.

Consequently, general propeller-engine light fighters and propeller-powered trainer cum fighters are still in use today.

The Philippines buys six A-29 Super Tucano propeller fighters

Why does the US Air Force still need propeller fighters?  - Photo 6

Philippine Air Force A-29 Super Tucano light fighter at base Clark

On October 14, 2020, the Philippine Air Force received six A-29 Super Tucano turboprop light fighters. This aircraft is used for attack, ground support, reconnaissance, patrol, and training purposes. To date, 15 countries use the aircraft, according to EDR online.






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