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Category: News - Features (Archived) Created: 10/18/2011 03:23 PM
Updated: 11/10/2012 12:48 AM
Light Attack Aircraft Proposal Rejected By Congress
But Is Boeing's OV-10X Bronco Proposal Still Under Consideration?
By Mike Whaley
The Navy Times reported on Oct. 14, 2011 that both branches of Congress have rejected requests to allocate $17 million to CENTCOM for the Combat Dragon II program, which would introducea small number of propeller-driven aircraft to the Afghanistan theater of operations in a COIN/FAC role. CDII is a follow-on to a program called Imminent Fury. In the first phase of Imminent Fury, which was lead by the Navy but was later joined by the USAF, an Embraer Super Tucano was tested in the ground-support role. The results were encouraging enough that the military wants to deploy 4 aircraft for 6 months in Afghanistan combat areas, as part of the second phase of Imminent Fury. Despite the good results and support from commanders, the military's request for $22 milllion for the test was rejected by Congress.

Both Embraer and Hawker-Beechcraft expressed interest in Imminent Fury II, the latter with an armed version of their AT-6 Texan II trainer. The Navy Times reports that officials are seriously considering using OV-10 Broncos for the Combat Dragon II program, and Boeing had issued some materials at trade shows proposing an updated Bronco called, for now at least, the OV-10X. It's not known whether the current efforts, should they come to pass, would be more likely to proceed with updates to existing Bronco airframes or with new-build aircraft.

FMI: Navy Times article AVweb article

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