Bring. It. On.

U.S. Eyes Super Tucano for SpecOps Work

This is something we’ve discussed a number of times on MO: A prop-driven light attack plane for special ops and low-intesity warfare.

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.

Read the rest at Defense News.

Is the Super Tucano the best plane out there? Tough to say, since modern militaries have such little experience with these types of planes in these roles lately.

An even better question: Why is it the Navy that’s leading the way? Could it be because the Air Force would slit its own wrists before it let a little prop into the combat inventory?

If the Navy goes ahead with this, could it tirckle down to the Marines?


  1. Not sure why the Marine ditched the OV-10. I’m sure they would be glad to buy cheap useful prop planes. The Air Farce won’t touch it although technicaly, the Army could buy prop planes.

  2. The Air Force is embarrassed enough that they even have the A-10 still in the inventory. Why keep the old and busted A-10 when you could have the new hotness F-22?

    But in all honesty, you would think the 6th SOS would be all over this. Isn’t this sort of thing their raison d’etre? They are like the Green Berets for airplanes, training foreign militaries to fly things like the Mi-8 and what have you?

  3. Also, it seems from the article that this is a program specifically instituted by the CNO, and one of their issues is in fact that it’s not a carrier-capable aircraft.

  4. Well, the rumble is that this is for deployment close to the action, thus “normally not from a carrier”. I’d expect it to be piloted by Marines in support of forward in-contact Marines and other troops.

    Combine this with the rumor of a new production run of Broncos (which are optimal for slightly different missions, thus don’t directly compete with the Tucanos) and you have some really interesting possibilities. Remember, the Bronco was specced (and I believe is certified) to operate from carriers and large-deck amphibious-assault ships without arresting wires or catapults. It may be that a combination of Broncos and Tucanos allows for an optimum selection for any given condition.

  5. As a member of the Air Force, I take offense to the snarky “Air Farce” comments. We are also members of the finest military that has ever existed, perform our missions with extraordinary effectiveness and are every bit as much professionals as a Marine, soldier or sailor.

    However, I don’t disagree with the theme. The Air Force for too long has made the needs of our ground forces secondary to “air superiority”. Granted, we need to be on top of things there, but where have we seen (no pun intended) the best bang for the buck”? A-10s and Special Ops 130s (EC and AC both). A-10s are finally getting modern avionics, but we need so much more in the close air support arena and an armed T-6 or similar is needed. The 1st SOW should be all over this. Or better, give it to use Reservists, give it to the 919 SOW!

  6. So how come the Air Force isn’t buying cool $**t like Death Stars ‘n stuff? Or maybe they are……….and just aren’t letting on, so when the next group gets froggy……….and we vaporise them……….they won’t know it’s coming!

  7. The Air Force doesn’t need no steenkin’ Tucanos! We’re now the proud owners of the T-6A Texan! Which can be converted to an armed T-6B Texan if necessary. Come to think of it, I think the Tucano and the T-6 share a common ancestor in Switzerland made by Pilatus, called the PC-7! Of course, Wikipedia says the Tucano is a Brazilian design, but I’ve got other sources who say Embraer bought a PC-7 design to work off of!

    Reopen the A-10 production line, Air Force! Or at least buy licensing rights to the Frogfoot!

    And, where’s our medium-range “bomb truck” for flying those missions to Afghanistan that call for more bombs than an F-16 can haul but don’t really justify a B-52? Can’t we drag a bunch of old Navy S-3 “Hoovers” out of the boneyard and rework them a little? Of course, they’re not Mach 3 and shiny, so…

  8. As a proud Air force “weenie” I think this is a great idea that makes sense, hence, it will never see the light of day! Just imagine, a loiter time of six hours! Down in the weeds capability, ability to self defend. With sidewinders it could turn on a dime and slay Flankers. Wow. To top it off it could leap off of a carrier, without cat support? Come on folks, this is sheer genius. Of course, the Air Force would sniff at it and poo poo it faster than you could say F-35.

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