The COIN Fighter/trainer A 29 Super Tucano
The A 29 is the light attack turbo prop aircraft designed to provide close fire support and act as a trainer too. A 29 is developed by the Brazilian firm Embraer often used by all over the world. usually the A 29 is a better platform for African nations, Afghan is the one who recently bought some A 29 for light attack, and now Brazil offers A 29 to India.
Brazil interested to sell the A 29 to India, they announced that Brazil will send a A 29 into upcoming defense exhibition in Goa. A 29 is known good for conducting counter intelligence, reconnaissance and fire support mission, which Indian Army lacks in Kahsmir region. the A 29 is pretty slow and stormy sound that can be used against terrorists. A 29 also used in battlefield if the enemy air defense systems are overthrown by heavy fighters.
The A 29 comes with pretty decent cost than many other military jets who designed for light attack purpose. generally each A 29 costs less than $14 millions and the operating cost is way lesser which is just $500 per hour. the reason why A 29 preferred best compared to attack helicopters. each Apache helicopters costs more than $25 millions.
A 29 rolled out in 2003,within short time it performed significant operations all over the world, even the private security forces like Black water also operates few A 29. The size is small, easy transport and increased survivability is the reason.
The major advantage is the A 29 is, intercepting low flying loitering UAV's. sending a fighter jet to intercept large number of UAV is doesn't makes sense and costs too much, Sending helicopter makes low reliability due to high vibration during cannon firing and low speed.
There is no attack helicopter will match A 29's performance in close air support and low cost interception. each wings of the A 29 carries a powerful 12.7mm machine gun for multi purpose. used to shoot helicopters provide air cover to ground troops.
A 29's primary weapon payload comes with IR guided missiles and bombs. A 29 carry variety of IR guided air to air missiles for self defense, and drops IR and GPS guided bombs for precision strike. makes a better platform for multi role in low cost.
A 29 has self defense systems like countermeasures suites, missile approach warning system and radar warning receiver, which gives better situation awareness in dense battlefields.
A 29 has better range. It can carry nearly 1500 kgs of bombs and rockets and conduct combat mission at the range of some 500 kilometers. better range and payload capacity than many other attack helicopters. A 29 can stay in the air for more than six hours for reconnaissance mission. which is known good option of using A 29 as a observation flight.
In Indian condition Indian army desperately need more than hundred such COIN fighters. However no one ready to hear army's plea. since entire air cover comes under IAF. The known HTT 40 is also a better platform. However the HTT 40 still on development phase and unreliable system. The armed Hawk trainer is also a better option. However it's not a better platform for COIN rather than light attacks only.