Surveillance and light attack aircraft
The AT-802U surveillance and light-attack aircraft is a heavily armoured version of the AT-802 agricultural and fire fighting aircraft, developed by Air Tractor. The aircraft is operational with the air forces of Jordan, Egypt and UAE.
The aircraft can perform ten-hour missions while carrying 3,629kg payload, which makes the AT-802U an ideal platform for surveillance and light-attack missions.
The multi-mission aircraft has been deployed in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), precision-strike, command and control, counter-insurgency (COIN), close-air support, weapons training, forward arming and refuelling point missions.
The aircraft was displayed at 2019 SOFIC (Special Operations Forces Industry Conference).
AT-802U design and armour
The AT-802U is also configurable for more advanced systems depending on customer requirements. Laser-guided ordnance, helmet-mounted displays, fire-control systems, survivability systems, and sensor payloads could all be incorporated into this robust aircraft.
The aircraft offers sufficient fuselage and wing space for installing sensors and datalinks. The spring-steel landing gear along with high-dust environment air induction system allows missions from unimproved airstrips and dirt roads.
The aircraft has a wingspan of 18m and wing area of 37.25m². Its empty weight with armour and without weapons is 3,703kg, and the useful load is 4,000kg when attached with ballistic armour. The maximum gross weight of the aircraft is 7,257kg.
The AT-802U, aptly defined as a strike/ISR platform, has the versatility and performance attributes to meet all Diverse Targeting operational phases-identify, patch, aim, engage and evaluate (F2T2EA).
Cockpit and avionics of AT-802U The AT-802U integrates a tandem seat cockpit, which includes dual-flight controls, head-up displays (HUD), an electronic flight instrumentation system, a Wulfsberg Flexcomm tactical modular multi-band airborne FM/AM/UHF radio communications system, and a retractable L3 Wescam MX-15Di sensor turret system.
The optionally-fitted compact multichannel data link (CMDL) system is compatible with remotely operated video-enhanced receivers (ROVER). It provides the commanders a real-time view of the battlefield and also transmits live video feed to other aircraft, air operation centres, or joint-terminal attack controllers on field.
The night-vision-compatible cockpit allows the pilots to conduct unconstrained night missions. The aircraft also features an inflatable restraint system, which integrates a five-point harness.
The AT-802U features multi-sensor payload capabilities and is equipped with electro-optical infrared sensors, synthetic aperture radar and intelligence signal sensors.
The wing and fuselage hard points can be armed with a range of weapon systems, including dual .50 cal. GAU-19/A three-barrel gatling guns, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, dual M260 seven-tube rocket launchers, and 500lb Mk-82 bombs. The hard points can be increased to 15 to carry additional armament.
The weaponry also includes FN Herstal gun pod, Dillon-Aero .50 calibre gun, GBU-12 laser guided bomb, Raytheon MTS-A multi-spectral targeting system, and 2.75-inch precision guided rocket.
The armament aboard the aircraft can be launched with a high level of accuracy to minimise collateral damage.
Survivability of AT-802U
The aircraft features a crashworthy airframe, cockpit and engine armour, ballistic glass windshields and windows, as well as self-sealing fuel tanks, to offer superior protection to its crew members. The survivability can be further increased by installing an optional AAR-47/ALE-47 survivability system.
The field-repairable defensive armour enables the aircraft to withstand multiple bullet hits and can also be upgraded to defeat high threat levels.
AT-802U engine and performance
The aircraft is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F turboprop engine driving a Hartzell aluminium propeller. The engine develops a maximum continuous power of 1,600shp at 1,700rpm. The fuel capacity of the aircraft is 1,438l, which can be increased by adding auxiliary fuel tanks.
The AT-802U aircraft offers higher speed and manoeuvrability than most helicopters, UAVs and cargo aircraft. It has a maximum speed of 394km/h and stall speed of 169km/h with flaps down. The patrol speed of the aircraft is 333km/h, and the maximum range is 2,414km when fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks.
The aircraft can climb at a maximum rate of 3,000ft/m, and requires a landing run of 366m, and a minimum take-off roll of 207m. It can perform 450 flight hours a year, at an average cost of below $400 per flight hour.