Specialist troops on the ground in Afghanistan have requested the acquisition of a new aircraft for close air support during special forces operations with the aircraft in question being the Brazilian manufactured turbo prop Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano
Under the classified "Imminent Fury" program, the Navy has already leased, tested and armed at least one Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, according to Capt. Mark Mullins, a naval special warfare officer serving as the deputy director of the Navy Irregular Warfare Office at the Pentagon. "This is a close air support, manned aircraft with a pilot and sensor operator. The idea here is that SOF needs an organic capability that can stick with them while they're doing their mission," Mullins said. "We're not buying them; we're leasing them right now. That's an important point."Source
That the US Military should wish for a small turboprop aircraft designed for light attack and counter insurgency missions doesn't surprise me, since such aircraft were employed extensively in previous conflicts, I'm thinking of the OV-10
and the A1
. What surprises me is that the USA doesn't already have such an aircraft since the price for such aircraft can't be all that excessive when compared to other aircaft currently under development.
General McChrystal, who recently retired under a dark cloud, had requested the deployment of four Super Tucano's under the code name Imminent Fury, over a year ago. These aircraft have apparently not yet been delivered because....
...Congress blocked funds for the classified project several months ago. The aircraft were first requested nearly a year ago for what Gen. McChrystal said was "to conduct critical find, fix and finish operations against [al Qaeda] and Taliban networks."Source
The money for the aircraft lease, $44 million, was blocked over pork-barrel political issues, namely an effort to get a new contract for U.S.-based light attack aircraft...
.Should the USA acquire the Super Tucano, should it develop its own turboprop light attack aircraft, or should it do both?Is US national pride a factor in any reluctance to buy a Brazilian built military aircraft?