US Air Force's First AT-6E Wolverine Aircraft Will Not Fight

Instead of shooting rounds, this fighter will be used to gather intel.
Fabienne Lang

A new aircraft just entered the U.S. Air Force's fleet in the form of the AT-6E Wolverine.

So far, only one of the light attack aircraft has been delivered, and will most likely be used to support a program called the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network, or AEOROnet. 

So instead of shooting rounds and fighting, the aircraft will be used to gather and share data to help allies and partners work well together during coalition operations — which is the main purpose of AEROnet's program.

The program is essentially a prototype air-to-air and air-to-ground radio system that allows militaries to share video, voice, and chat communications, as well as command and control, explained Air Force Magazine.

The news of the AT-6E Wolverine's delivery was shared on Twitter by the Air Force Life Management Cycle Center on Wednesday.

The AT-6E Wolverine

Developed by Beechcraft, a division at Textron, the AT-6E Wolverine is a multi-mission aircraft system designed to meet a wide range of warfighter needs. It's decked out with Lockheed Martin's A-10C mission computer, CMC Esterline glass cockpit, and flight management systems.

The aircraft also houses the "most powerful allied-compatible ISR" and color and IR cameras, laser designator, laser illuminator, and laser rangefinder. Hence its appeal for gathering and sharing captured data. 

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It's also able to employ a broad range of weapons and external fuel carriage configurations, with the option to accommodate over 66 standard load configurations. 

"What we can offer is a network that is exportable, that meets all the security requirements that can interlink people with each other and with us, that can take advantage of all the different communication systems that are out there already," now-retired Air Force General Mike Holmes, said at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center conference in 2019.

In 2019, the U.S. Air Force announced it would be acquiring three AT-6E Wolverines for its AEROnet program.

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