The AT-802L Longsword is a new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and light strike aircraft. Photo: courtesy of L3T.
The AT-802L Longsword was on display at 2017 Paris Air Show. Image courtesy of Marc Lacoste.
The cockpit is equipped with Garmin G600 avionics suite. Photo: courtesy of Garmin.
AT-802L Longsword

The AT-802L Longsword is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and light strike aircraft developed by L3 Technologies in co-operation with Air Tractor. It is a special mission variant of the Air Tractor 802 series of agricultural aircraft.

The aircraft was awarded a supplemental type certificate (STC) by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its updated digital avionics and cockpit in June 2017. It was displayed at the International Paris Air Show held in June 2017 and is one of the contenders of the US Air Force’s OA-X light attack competition.

AT-802L design and features

The AT-802L features a low-wing monoplane design, integrating a steel tube structure. Its fuselage houses an armoured cockpit, self-sealing fuel tanks, armoured fuel lines and robust wings. The fuselage skin can be quickly removed for easy maintenance and subsystem overhaul.

The fuselage and wings offer ample space for the integration of sensors, datalinks and weapon systems to transform the aircraft into an ideal ISR and strike platform to meet the challenging needs of armed forces.

“It was displayed at the International Paris Air Show held in June 2017 and is one of the contenders of the US Air Force’s OA-X light attack competition.”

The landing gear includes a tail wheel and large main wheels to enable operations from unpaved and uneven air strips. The engine is equipped with special intake filters to support uninterrupted operations in dusty conditions.

The aircraft has a length of 10.9m, height of 3.9m, wingspan of 18.04m and a wing area of 37.25m².

Cockpit and avionics

The modern cockpit of the AT-802L accommodates two crew members in tandem configuration. It features a Garmin G600 avionics suite integrating a dual-screen primary/multifunction display, an air data computer, an attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), synthetic vision technology (SVT), a digital intercommunication system, and an L3 next-generation electronic standby instrument system.

Mission equipment and systems

The ISR systems aboard the aircraft encompass L3 WESCAM MX-15D high-definition electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) gimbal, Thales Scorpion helmet-mounted display (HMD), VHF, V/UHF communication systems, and integrated full-motion video (FMV) architecture. The integrated mission operator console is equipped with L3 ForceX Widow mission management system (MMS).

The MX-15D EO/IR target acquisition system supports the integration of up to ten sensors, including EO/IR cameras, laser rangefinder/designator, and laser illuminator systems. The four-axis gimbal integrates an internal inertial measurement unit (IMU) and offers superior stabilisation.

Armament and self-protection

The AT-802L Longsword is armed with a range of weapons, including guns, guided and unguided bombs, as well as rockets and missiles. Its under-fuselage is installed with up to 11 hard points to carry more than 6,200lb of ammunition and fuel.

The aircraft can carry .50 calibre rounds, Hellfire missiles, direct attack guided rockets (DAGRs), and 250lb laser-guided bombs.

The Moog Gen 3 weapon stores management system (SMS) allows for the integration and control of multiple individual weapons.

The countermeasures suite includes AN/AAR-47 missile warning system and AN/ALE-47 airborne countermeasures dispenser system for protection against incoming missiles.

Engine and performance

The aircraft is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F turboprop engine driving a Hartzell aluminium five-bladed propeller. The engine develops a maximum continuous power 1,600shp at 1,700rpm.

The aircraft has a range of 400nmi with five hours of on-station time in ISR configuration. It can reach a maximum distance of 800nmi with one hour of on-station time.

The cost of operations is lower than that of trainer-based and more complicated aircraft.

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