07 November 2007

An $8 million warplane

The A-67 Dragon (also here) is a commercial off the shelf counterinsurgency airplane that sells for about 6% of the projected unit cost of an F-35A. It is designed for long, moderate altitude manned reconnaisance and for dropping bombs, while having almost no air to air capabilities, much ability to sustain flak, and little ability to dodge sophisticated anti-air missiles.

In short, it is a plane designed to do everything a conventional fighter can do in situations like Iraq and Afghanistan, where the opposition forces have no airforce, no large military weapons, and small units, at a fraction of the price of a jet. It is also a system that we could trust unreliable allies to own, because it couldn't sustain air superiority against U.S. fighters.

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