Beechcraft AT-6 Becomes First Fixed-Wing Aircraft to Employ Laser Guided Rockets
Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC) today announced its AT-6 Light Attack aircraft has successfully employed laser-guided rockets during recent test sorties at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In January, the AT-6 became the very first fixed-wing aircraft to launch a laser-guided rocket.
The weapons testing is part of the ongoing congressionally funded operational evaluation of the AT-6, executed by the Air National Guard and Air Reserve Command Test Center (AATC).
“This is a big milestone in the future of Hawker Beechcraft’s Light Attack program,” said Derek Hess, HBDC director, Light Attack. “We continue to see great interest in the AT-6 from military forces around the globe and the capability to employ laser-guided rockets is another reason why the aircraft is unmatched in the light attack aircraft market today.”
The 2.75” laser-guided rocket testing included BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) and Raytheon’s TALON. The weapons were fired from approximately three nautical miles and guided to their targets using either an airborne laser from the AT-6 or a ground laser from the Eglin AFB range. Both rockets performed flawlessly and were scored as hits on their respective targets.
In addition to HBDC, BAE Systems and Raytheon contractor teams, the AATC has conducted the weapons phase of the AT-6 Operational Assessment with the support of the U.S. Air Force Air Armament Center’s Non-Nuclear Munitions Safety Board, Air Force Seek Eagle Office and the 46th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.
The AT-6 is a multi-role, multi-mission aircraft system designed to meet the spectrum of needs for the emergent Light Attack mission. Leveraging a range of highly-specialized, but off-the-shelf capabilities, the AT-6 is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as Pratt and Whitney PTA‑68D engine, CMC Esterline’s mission modified Cockpit 4000, Lockheed Martin’s A-10C-based mission system and L-3 WESCAM’s MX-15Di sensor suite.
The aircraft has successfully demonstrated high-end net-centric and light attack capabilities and full compatibility with U.S. and NATO Joint Terminal Attack Controller systems during the ANG Operational Assessment and Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment in 2010. The AT-6 is positioned to lead the Light Attack market with purpose-built capability, affordability and sustainability in the most demanding of scenarios.
Hawker Beechcraft is a world-leading manufacturer of business, special-mission, light attack and trainer aircraft – designing, marketing and supporting aviation products and services for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide. The company’s headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, Kan., with operations in Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark.; Chester, England, U.K.; and Chihuahua, Mexico. The company leads the industry with a global network of more than 100 factory-owned and authorized service centers.
Source: 14 February 2012 - Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company News
Photo: Hawker Beechcraft AT‑6 Laser Guided Rockets (Photo by newsroom.hawkerbeechcraft.com)