Monday, October 12, 2015

Praxis: "South Africa's Dirt-Cheap War Machine."

Meet the AHRLAC.
Here's some specs.
Here's the Wikipedia citation.

14 comments:

Sean said...

Wings with fuselage remind me of the P-51. P-51s' by the way, newly manufactured with updated electronics and weaponry, would make an outstanding close air support vehicle that would be cost effective, and could replace the A-10s, which they're trying to get rid of anyway. I'd say keep the A-10, buy that SA plane, and upgrade the P-51. It ain't all about them super fast fighters, but it is all about close air support, cheap, and effective, and taking out critical supply, transportation, and fuel depot type targets. Bang for the buck.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Any threat this thing can possibly handle doesn't rate risking trained pilots in a hostile environment. Threats this can handle just barely rate a militarized drone rather than off-the-shelf commercial remotely-operated systems.

That thing is barely worth the ejector seats they put in it (which are an insane expense for something with that performance envelope...which is why I'd guess that nobody will actually put the seats in even if anyone buys and tries the thing).

That said, there is a real need to consider cost-effective solutions when planning for full-scale armed conflicts, and permitting development of platforms which cost ten times as much for marginal (or zero) performance gains has to stop.

But competent pilots are not so cheap that you can waste their lives like this. It may be a perfectly good platform for a variety of non-combat roles (the reconnaissance capabilities look good enough on paper), but there is just no excuse for mounting weapons on it and sending it into battle.

Use a drone.

Anonymous said...

Looks like "bird dog" his ole Cessna O-2 Skymaster.

Jimmy the Saint said...

Reminds me of the Argentine's Pucaras, though it looks more like our old Bronco.

Anonymous said...

Those who flew the Cessna 337 Lynx in the Rhodesian Air Force, the troops they flew ground support for, and the "floppies" that got "slotted" by both might disagree with your assessment. This thing has orders more magnitude of capability for that than the 337 did with only 2 top wing mounted pods for a pair of .303 Brownings and two hard points per wing for a rocket pod/whatever. The amount of training necessary for this AC is a lot less than is normally expended by the military to train a jet pilot.

Anonymous said...

Any new P-51 batter have a more thoughtful radiator system, and maybe even some armor. Those things weren't called "Fragile but agile" for nothing. One shot to either the coolant or oil cooler lines or rads and they were doomed. Overweight and under-powered even with the Merlin. Better bet, the P-47. Could take a much more severe beating and still kill your ass.

jeffrey mcfadden said...

p51 was not as good as p47 for close air support. p47 was more stout, and most importantly, p47 had a radial engine. p51 had water cooled, therefore more vulnerable to losing coolant.
p47s came back with entire cylinders shot out. remember the a10 is called the thunderboltII for a reason.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that there is a legitimate confusion arising from the fact that, in the history of military aviation, designs similar or inferior to this worked well in countering small numbers of poorly armed and trained ground forces.

But this is a new, contemporary design, it needs to be measured against available modern technology, both competing available options and possible threats it might face. And in that light, as a credible combat platform, it fails the sniff test. It fails compared to remote operated drone technology in terms of cost/performance and pilot protection, and it fails badly against probable threats on both counts. There are things this design can do, and probably do very well. Modern combat isn't one of them.

Yes, war is inherently messy and dangerous, and people always die, often people who you would rather not die. Tilting the ratio in your favor is the best you can do. Tilting it the other way is not the best you can do.

admin said...

Everyone still fails to bring up the air tractor. In use in south Americ it has a absurd 8 tons of bomb capacity and 10 hour endurance for a cool 2 million.

admin said...

The Air Tractor® AT-802U is an economical single engine turboprop aircraft designed for surveillance, precision strike, and rugged dirt strip utility missions. The AT-802U combines an 8,000-lb. (3,629 kg) payload and 10-hour ISR mission capability

Anonymous said...

I thought the A10 was called the "Warthog".

Sean said...

Like the fool that I am, I forgot the P-47, and I concur, that would be the best type reproduction for a close air support plane. You guys are RIGHT. Thanks for the follow up.

Anonymous said...

Ok For all you prop heads I submit the best ground attack single prop AC ever built: The A1D Skyraider AKA "The Spad". It was designed and built at the end of WW2 as a "lessons learned" CAS aircraft and preformed that role better than every other prop driven airframe in history. Hell the damn things even shot down MIG's in both Korea and Vietnam. "Stripped" it had the same performance as the P51 or the P47 under 15000 feet and had 3x the bomb/ammunition/fuel/armor load of ether. ---Ray

Anonymous said...

Looks like a much less capable OV-10 Bronco.