“Bird Dog” Light Planes for Afghanistan
“Bird Dogs for the Iraqi Air Force” has covered the growth of Iraq’s primary trainer fleet of Cessna 172 and 208Bs, alongside surveillance and even attack variants of the same aircraft. Now, Afghanistan is beginning the same process, and needs primary training aircraft for new air force candidates. Soon, they may need more.
Active military use of “grasshopper”/ “bird dog” aircraft is merely the re-invention of doctrines that worked very well in World War 2, Korea, and Vietnam. The combination of lower tech, lower prices, and lower crash rates than UAVs will continue to give “bird dog” aircraft a military role as light cargo planes, spotters, and even attack aircraft in countries that are watching their budgets…
Contracts & Key Events
Work will be performed in Wichita, KS until July 31/14. The AFLCMC/WLZI at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract on Afghanistan’s behalf (FA8617-11-C-6209, PO 0011).
May 26/11: The Cessna Aircraft Co. in Wichita, KS receives an $88.5 million firm-fixed price, single award contract for the Afghanistan Basic Trainer/Light Lift Family of Systems: 6 Cessna T-182T aircraft; 26 Cessna 208Bs; 6 aircrew training devices; plus interim contractor support for the aircraft, training devices in Afghanistan, and advisor training. The 877th AESG/SYI at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8617-11-C-6209).
In Iraq, some C-208B Caravans have been fitted with surveillance turrets, and some of those have even been armed with Hellfire missiles as “AC-208B Combat Caravans.” Afghanistan has opted for the Cessna 182 Skylane Turbo, however, over Iraq’s Cessna 172 Skyhawks. The Skyhawk is the most popular aircraft in the world for a reason, but Afghanistan’s high altitudes and air-thinning hot weather spells require more power. The Skylane Turbo’s Lycoming TIO-540-AK1A engine delivers full-rated power all the way to its maximum operating altitude of 20,000 feet.
- DID – Bird Dogs for the Iraqi Air Force
- DID – US SDAF Buying Cessna C-208B Caravan Light Planes. These 4 C-208Bs may be destined for Afghanistan; the announcement is inconclusive.
- DID – Military Again: Afghan AF Picks MD-530F Helicopters. Also for training and assorted other duties. They’ll serve alongside Mi-17 medium helicopters and a handful of Mi-24/35 attack helicopters.
- USAF (Nov 1/11) – C-208B Roadshow comes to Kabul