Counterinsurgency Aircraft: An Analysis of Two Alternatives
Management & Lessons Learned Track
Within military academic circles and the special operations community, a call is being made for an aircraft dedicated to the Counterinsurgency (COIN) mission. Given the Air Force’s budget constraints brought on buy the dedication to the F-22A, advocacy for a COIN aircraft needs the concreteness of hard numbers. Building on Arthur Davis’ COIN aircraft advocacy paper, this research focuses not on further advocacy, but on a process and method to actually procure a COIN aircraft. The acquisition focus is on US Special Operations Command’s acquisition authority coupled with its GWOT mission responsibility, using commercial-off-the-shelf aircraft procurement to specifically address the need for an airborne COIN capability.
Beyond the acquisition process, the performance, schedule, and cost information associated with Raytheon’s T-6A NTA and Stavatti’s SM-27 were reviewed and compared. Additionally, acquisition and operations, maintenance, and support cost estimates were produced for both alternatives. The estimates reflect respective acquisition costs for 36 aircraft of approximately $211 million and $426 million; and operations, maintenance, and support costs of $38 million and $47 million, respectively. Costs stated in fiscal year 2007 dollars.
The analysis of alternatives yields a recommendation based on the three key acquisition areas of performance, schedule, and cost. The T-6A NTA is recommended by this analysis. This platform possesses demonstrated performance, immediate availability, and lower costs.