From that previous blog entry:
"20 new Brazilian-made A-29 light attack planes, bought for the Afghans by the United States at a cost of $427 million"
Counter-insurgency [COIN] warplane as chosen by the Afghan and paid for by the Americans.
Super Tucano A-29. "The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano . . . also named ALX or A-29 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain, the Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, incorporates 4th generation avionics and weapons system to deliver precision guided munitions."
Nice-looking aircraft. None of these warplanes even the COIN variety cheap! Consider: "$9–14 million [per plane], $430–500/hour (operational cost)". Consider that you can reputedly buy a Swedish Grippen NG for about $20 million USD.
MODERN WARPLANES EXPENSIVE, EMBEDDED WITH ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES, INCLUDING THOSE DESIGNED WITH THE LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT IN MIND!
Merely that total avionics package of the Super Tucano to include:
* MIL-STD-1553 standards.
* NVG ANVIS-9 (Night Vision)
* CCIP / CCRP / CCIL / DTOS / LCOS / SSLC (Computerized Attack Modes)
* Rohde and Schwarz M3AR VHF/UHF Airborne Transceiver (two-way encrypted Data Link provision)
* HUD / HOTAS
* HMD with UFCP (Up Front Control Panel)
* Laser INS with GPS Navigational System.
* CMFD (Colored Multi-Function Display) liquid crystal active matrix
* Integrated Radio Communication and Navigation
* Video Camera/Recorder
* Automatic Pilot with embedded mission planning capability
* Stormscope WX-1000E (Airborne weather mapping system)
* Laser Range Finder
* WiPak Support – (Wi-Fi integration for Paveway bombs).
* Training and Operation Support System (TOSS).
Shoot, you need an entire glossary or dictionary to know what all those abbreviations stand for!
NVG = Night Vision Goggles, Mil Std = Military Standard, CCIP / CCRP / CCIL / DTOS / LCOS / SSLC = (Continuously Computed Impact Point), Continuously Computed Release Point (CCRP), Continuously Computed Impact Line (CCIL), Digital Technical Order System (DTOS), VHF/UHF = Very High Frequency, Ultra High Frequency, HUD HOTAS = Heads Up Display, Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, HMD with UFCP Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD), Up-Front Control Panel (UFCP), INS GPS = Inertial Navigation System, Ground Positioning System.
Soup to nuts the total package. Who ever said any of this was cheap? Even for COIN.