•“A-29B’s wingspan is 4 ft. wider.” Yes, it’s wider, but the AT-6’s smaller physical size presents a lower wetted area (resulting in less form drag) and is 19% lighter than the Super Tucano. The AT-6’s lower wing loading and power loading translates into better takeoff, climb and cruise performance with the same engine as the larger, heavier Super Tucano.
•“The A-29B’s fuselage is 3 ft. longer and its vertical stabilizer is 2.3 ft. higher, providing more aerodynamic stability to handle the 1,600-shp engine.”
The Super Tucano’s larger size was a design choice to improve handling characteristics of the baseline aircraft that was rejected in the JPATS competition. This design also adds to the heavier weight of the aircraft, which hurts its overall performance when compared with the AT-6. The AT-6 integrated the same 1,600-shp engine without having to grow the physical size of the aircraft; it meets all LAS requirements for handling characteristics with ease. When flown in the guided-weapons configuration, the underpowered Super Tucano must give up a weapons station on the centerline for a pylon due to aerodynamic requirements.
When it comes to combat capabilities, despite George’s very selective and specific comparisons, a closer review of the two aircraft reveals that the AT-6 carries more ammunition and is superior to the Super Tucano. For example:
•The AT-6’s external guns carry twice as many rounds as the internal guns of the Super Tucano and offer the commander a higher degree of flexibility in configuring the aircraft to meet battlespace requirements.
•In spite of its larger wings, the Super Tucano carries 100 lb. less fuel and is not certified to land at maximum gross takeoff weight. The AT-6 is capable of takeoff and landing operations at MGTOW.
•All six wing stations of the AT-6 can be loaded when the aircraft is configured with an EO/IR sensor; the Super Tucano’s centerline pylon cannot be loaded with weapons in this configuration.
•The AT-6 has more NATO-Standard weapons stations for carrying external stores than the Tucano.
Other facts George wants to ignore: