By lex, on July 21st, 2009
(The) Navy intends to field a limited number of turbo-prop attack planes outfitted with the most modern surveillance, tracking and weapons systems to help special ops forces keep track of bad guys and, in a pinch, put warheads on foreheads.
Call it an A-1 Skyraider on steroids – a “Back to the Future”-resurrection of a kind of plane last seen pounding enemy positions with rockets, guns and bombs over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the 1960s.
Code named “Imminent Fury,” the classified, year-long program has so far produced one fully-outfitted plane and is set to field four more to directly support SEALs and other operators on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
According to a source close to the program who declined to be named, the Navy has leased an EMB-314 Super Tucano for the job. Made by the Brazilian aerospace company Embraer, it is now being tested on desert ranges in California and the service’s top test facility at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. The Navy loaded it up with sensors and weapons systems that “would make an F-16 pilot blush,” the source said.
Since I’ve made a number of F-16 pilots blush over my time, I have to wonder if this couldn’t be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
SEALs are too valuable to risk in turboprop aircraft, Navy – you ought to go with contractors. Because, if you’re hiring, I’m firing.
PS – I’m serious.
PPS – Call me.
** 09-08-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.