Monday, July 28, 2014

More Information Released for PAF's Close Air Support Aircraft Requirements

The Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) released the copy of the new Supplemental Bid Bulletin Nr. DND-AFP/PAF-CASA-14-07-003 (link provided pages 1-22 HERE, and pages 23-47 HERE) which shows the queries submitted by the interested bidders and the replies provided by the DND and Philippine Air Force (PAF). This holds an important information on who are we expecting to join the bid, what products they intend to submit, and who might have the chance of bagging the deal.

The SBB strengthens our earlier analysis on the CAS Aircraft acquisition project as shown on our previous blog entry (link here). It shows that Beechcraft Defense, IOMAX, Airbus Military, KAI, Embraer, and surprisingly, Elbit Systems, has shown interests on the project by acquiring the bid bulletins and making their questions heard by the DND. It was expected that Beechcraft will offer the AT-6 Texan II, IOMAX the Archangel Block 2, Embraer with the A-29 Super Tucano, and KAI with the KA-1 Woongbi.


Embraer  with its Super Tucano continues to lead this CAS Aircraft acquisition project.


Based on the queries made by these companies, it appears that Embraer has an edge over all other entities, with most queries only pertaining to legalities, integrated logistics support, and training clarifications and not much on technical concerns except for a simple (and rather obvious) question on the number of EO/IR system. It also shows that their partner for the US LAS aircraft project, Sierra Nevada, is not part of the tender for PAF's requirement.

Airbus CASA's query was requesting to change the technical requirements to allow their PZL-130 Orlik ACS to join the bidding, which includes request to lower down the required payload, the number of hardpoints, and the weight capacity of each hardpoint. They also requested changes on the protection system to reduce the aircraft weight, and the requirement for OBOGS system. All of these requests were turned down by the DND, thus it is expected that Airbus Military won't submit a bid due to this.


Airbus Military may offer the PZL-130 Orlik ACS, a new armed variant of the company's Orlik trainer.
Photo taken from Airbus Military website.

Elbit Systems requested for an extension of bid, which was actually provided (the new bid submission and opening schedule was moved to August 11, 2014 as of this writing). MaxDefense has no idea yet what they intend to offer, but it appears that they may use an existing aircraft type with integration of systems done by Elbit. So far they have done this for Embraer's Super Tucano, and it may be possible that they could be offering a base aircraft with Elbit using most of its systems and integration capability. Previously Elbit Systems  has demonstrated their capability to This is a curious offering and might be worth waiting.



Could Elbit Systems be offering a heavily-"Elbitified" L-159 ALCA? MaxDefense lets its viewers take a stab on what Elbit may offer.


Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) only requested for an extension of the bid submission schedule, although it was already confirmed before that they would be offering the KA-1 Woongbi, an armed version of the KT-1 which was discussed in MaxDefense's previous blog entry.


The KA-1 Woongbi being offered by the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).


Beechcraft Defense and IOMAX both submitted several queries to the DND and has made up the largest percentage of queries, and it appears that the answers provided by the DND has disappointed both aircraft manufacturers due to the non-acceptance of the DND to change several technical specification details to suit their respective offerings.

IOMAX requested several considerations that their Archangel cannot provide, like the provisions on being a fully aerobatic aircraft, retractable landing gears, minimum cruise speed, full Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS), capability to use heat-seeking air-to-air missile, and zero-zero ejection seats. All these features are not found on the Archangel Block 1 and 2 aircraft, as discussed previously in a separate MaxDefense blog entry. It is expected that because of these multiple non-compliance to the specifications, IOMAX is not expected to submit a bid for this acquisition project.


IOMAX's Archangel Block 2 is probably out of the running for the PAF's CAS Aircraft Acquisition Project.


Beechcraft Defense's technical questions were regarding the requirement for self-sealing fuel tanks, the type of EO/IR sensors and video output, need for a missile alert warning system (MAWS), radar warning receiver (RWR), and automated chaff and flares dispenser, and the minimum weight requirement for each weapons hardpoint. Beechcraft's queries on the EO/IR sensors are mostly clarificatory in nature, as they are offering the L-3 Communications Wescam MX-15Di EO/IR system. MaxDefense believes this type is compliant to the technical specifications. The strict requirement for a MAWS and RWR suggests that the PAF intends to use the CAS aircraft for territorial defense duties in support of ground and possibly naval units, and it is expected that the aircraft will face missile threats as well. Take note that there are currently no missile threats encountered by the 15th Strike Wing in its internal security operations. The AT-6 appears to meet the minimum number of hardpoints requirements, but may not meet the minimum 600 lbs. capacity for all hardpoints, which means a possible non-compliance issue, although the DND and PAF may give considerations depending on the projected accepted normal load-out that the PAF intends to do with these aircraft.


The Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II testing the Talon laser-guided rocket system.



So far, it still appears that the Embraer Super Tucano is still in the lead for this project, while Beechcraft Defense AT-6 and KAI KA-1 may have some difficulties in meeting certain technical requirements that may mean their disqualification from the race. IOMAX and Airbus Military are not expected to meet most of the requirements and may bow down without even submitting a bid. While Elbit is a dark horse that will need a very good offer to shoot the Super Tucano down. With the bid submission and opening moved again to August 11, 2014, MaxDefense expects the remaining bidders to make use of the additional time to refine their offers, as it was expected by many industry, aviation and defense analysts and suppliers that that the PAF may ultimately order up to a total of 24 units in the near future based on whatever aircraft will win this tender for 6 initial units.That is a large order that is worth giving a serious interest at.

MaxDefense continues to monitor the developments for this acquisition project, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

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UPDATES:
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July 31, 2014:
The DND has moved again the bid submission and opening date for the CAS aircraft, as indicated in their new Supplmental Bid Bulletin. From August 11, 2014, it was moved to October 3, 2014. MaxDefense believes this might have something to do with possible problems with some of the expected bidder's capacity to provide the best offer on time. MaxDefense expects Elbit Systems to possibly steal the show from Embraer, Beechcraft Defense and KAI.

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October 29, 2014:
After several adjustments that delayed the bid submission and opening date for this project, the DND has again released a Supplemental Bid Bulletin dated October 28, 2014, moving the bid submission and opening date from November 5, 2014 to December 15, 2014. This further delays this crucial project, which is one of the foremost acquisition projects of the Philippine Air Force in this current phase. 

The PAF recently announced their intention to do refurbishing works on a single OV-10 Bronco to keep them airworthy until a new replacement comes in. MaxDefense now believes that there are factors that are keeping this project from being implemented: either the DND/PAF are waiting for a preferential supplier to meet their requirements and is giving time for it catch-up, or there are several requests from bidders to extend the deadline as they are having difficulty meeting the project. Another possibility is that the budget allocated for this project is still unclear. Nonetheless, the PAF is in need of new Close Air Support aircraft very soon, and while the project still hangs in limbo, they have no other choice but to continue to soldier on with the venerable OV-10.

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48 comments:

  1. The AT-6C lacks self-sealing fuel tanks? A Close Air Support aircraft for COIN missions? Any idea why they ommited this feature, Max? :(

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    1. They have a diff. system w/c is actually more sophisticated. Their system can divert fuel from damaged tanks to the undamaged tanks besides from adding protection to the tank locations.

      The DND/PAF wants their CAS to be cruder or simpler to free up the pilots to focus on other things than minding if the fuel from the damaged tanks are being diverted as advertised.

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    2. http://www.airforce-technology.com/features/featurebeyond-the-hype-the-year-of-the-scorpion-fighter-jet-4432100/

      $20-Million low-budget Scorpion MRF Fighter aircraft for ISR, strike fighter, close air support and trainer role.

      Delete
  2. Only Elbit makes me think hard what they will offer since i don't know which aircraft they have that will satisfy the requirements and beat the Embraer's plane. BTW Sir Max, is PAF will going to use this plane for training?

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    1. For the moment, it is unlikely, as the training role suitable of the CAS aircraft's performance envelope is already filled by the S-211. Moreover, all the CAS equipment is unnecessary for the training role. The training regime will also eat valuable service life from the CAS aircraft.

      It is possible that if the CAS aircraft is considered satisfactory PAF will order a stripped down version in the future as the S-211 is retired. Considering that many of the candidates started as a training aircraft, this is very possible. But this is not certain yet and PAF seems to prefer waiting until it has used the aircraft for some time first before committing to further purchases.

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    2. CAS for COIN ops.

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  3. Sir Max what's the use of this EO/IR system? can this a serious matter for Embraer?

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    1. Electro-Optical / Infra Red surveillance system. This is the electronic "eyes" of the aircraft, used for surveillance and targeting/guiding of smart weapons.

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    2. oh i see, thanks (y)

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  4. I heard airfix was offering something did thhey bid yet?

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  5. sir max ? for you what is the best CAS?

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  6. The requirements for this procurement are so close to the Super Tucano's specifications that I don't understand why they don't just do a direct buy. Will the other competing contenders have any legal basis to sue the Philippine government if they lose?

    It will be very interesting to see Elbit Systems competing in this, especially since they aren't partnered with either Beechcraft or Embraer. There are still some aircraft left that they could use like the PC-9 or PC-21, but could it be that they are thinking of competing with the modification of an unusual aircraft for this mission, like the Grob G 120?

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  7. Hi Max! Great Blog once again.

    If the L-159 ALCA is truly offered to us, I hope the afp would focus on getting this instead. If we compare the Tucano with L-159, it seems that the L-159 is superior in all areas.

    http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/compare-aircraft-results.asp?form=form&aircraft1=1091&aircraft2=718&Submit=Compare+Aircraft

    I really like the tucanos. However, the L-159 is favorable and it also complements our FA-50's modern jets rather than having another turbo-prop planes on our arsenals. Correct me If I am wrong, but the S-211 turbo-props should just be configured to fill the counterinsurgency strike Requirements of PAF don't you think? Please enlighten us views for I am not an expert in this field.


    Also, In May 2008, Aero Vodochody signed an agreement with Saab Czech and Gripen International to cooperate on the marketing and further development of the L-159. Does this makes JAS-39 Gripen feasible for our next purchase?

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/l159/

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    1. Some AF argue that jet aircraft use in COIN is not effective. Jets have a much higher low speed compare to t-props. Low air speed is needed for close COIN surveillance but at the same time it must have high thrust/acceleration to climb up or get back to high speed to avoid light attacks from the ground. The S-211 is too slow to thrust/climb making it vulnerable to light ground attacks. So I think PAF should leave those slow steady S-211 for training purposes only. COINS in South America, Philippines, and Indonesia with dense forests are different from COINS in Iraq or Libya where there are lots of open deserts.

      Also, in economic terms for AFs with budget constrains, operating jets are more costly if it's only for COIN missions.

      Delete
    2. Santiago KampilanJuly 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      Except for recon missions. The ST has more than twice the range and loiter time which is a huge difference.

      Delete
  8. It looks like the Tucano will bag the six aircraft. Nonetheless, it worth for CAS for phil air force.

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  9. T prop design for dive atrack delivery of non smart ordinance. In this age and time no need to dive stay at safe altitute quide the smart ordinance with eo/if quidance system so i go for turbojet.

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    Replies
    1. But jet is costly to operate. Moreover, it consume more fuel at low altitude, although I get your point that you said to stay at high altitude, I believe it cannot avoid to fly low most of the time in order to be effective. I almost forgot, smart ordinances are expensive too, not practical to use those on small pact insurgents. Dumb bombs would be good enough.

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    2. Close air support job is for the coming new 8 arm ligh attack aw-109. Other thing this turbojet entry has grifo l multi mode doppler radar

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    3. The AW109 is part of the CAS assets of the PAF, which will include whatever gets the contract for the "CAS Aircraft Acquisition Project", the armed SF-260, OV-10, and MD-520MG.

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  10. Hi Max,

    Correct me if I am wrong. For opinion I think if ISRAEL will help to provide the ELBITIZED on Aero L159 it will much better for CAS than COIN operations, and if PAF is going for COIN really they have to get the Super Tucano for cheaper operational cost. Remember there is a lot of differences using jet pwer aircraft than using turbo props type plane in the long run only the DND will know what is the best for PAF and we should trust them according to the needs of our own airforce and pilots.

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  11. Sorry, a little OOT, but can you please enlighten me on the latest with the seaplane acquisition? Has it been awarded already? I just think it is a great idea to have these planes in the inventory. Aside from rescue they can also be used for maritime surveillance and re-supply missions. I believe Vietnam has received its orders of twin otters from Canada and are satisfied with them.

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  12. Hi max.. I am one of the technical team from DND, Your right max that Super Tucano is noT only for COIN operation but rather we will use it for territorial defense .As what u can see during standoff with the PLAN, CMMS and Chinese Coastguard , PLAAF special mission aircraft fly over head and PLAN naval ships emerge within to support their paramilitary ships. Having the super tucano in our inventory would be great deal with us since we can armed it with short range antiship missile and air to air missile. Now if standoff may arise in the future with our new Coast Guard ship from japan at least we have a LOW OPERATING COST PLATFORM with teeth to stand them down from air to ground threats. So by the next time PLAAF SPECIAL MISSION AIRCRAFT fly us overhead then they must think twice that we have the Super Tucano to deal them with. And if PLAN warship emerge within the vicinity as what they have did not so long time ago at least they know something that we can strike them any moments if tension may arise. IN SHORT SUPER TUCANO is not only for COIN operation but we will employ it as DETERRENCE as what the chinese did to threaten our vessels. This is what we learned from them.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your input. If that's the case, then the PAF should acquire more than 6 units. We don't expect all 6 units to be fully operational at any given time, and these aircraft will also need to replace the ageing OV-10 for air support missions against communist and islamic terrorists.

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    2. Sir Max - everybody knows that some of those ships have thick armor that can not be handled by ASM with smaller warheads. Do you think the Super T's could carrry ASM with enough punch ? Maybe if Elbit could offer a jet-powered aircraft that could carry a heavier payload and better electronics - would it be a game changer ? BTW, I thought the US is handling the Islamic and Commie terrorists for us.

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    3. I think thats MRF's job

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    4. Using the Super Tucano as part of the Hi-Lo mix with the FA-50s on ASuW in the WPS is either a brilliant idea or just plain stupid. If the ST are certified to carry Harpoons, well its good. But if they plan to use Mavericks, its just silly. Using a turboprop to go against PLAN vessels seems like suicide. Better start acquiring Gripen.

      I would prefer using the CAS platform for COIN and training for which it was designed for. We need to finish off the NPA, the Abus, and the BIFF. And we can use the CAS to train pilots, specifically on weapons delivery since planes like the ST supports many high-tech munitions.

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    5. were not stupid my friend, FA50(LIFT), CAS-COIN(ST), XXX(MRF),XXX(LRPA), all of these platform works together during peacetime and wartime operation. did the vietnamese and the chinese use their expensive naval platform such as PLAN haikou destroyer OR VPN Gepard class frigate during the oil rig crisis. we are not Uncle Sam . we dont want to divulge the exact feature of our battle plan to avoid any security breach but the only thing we can say is "Hindi pa nagsisimula ang gyera talo na tayo pag fighter jet ang gamit natin kng magka standoff ulit kahit dalawang linggo lng sabog na ang bulsa natin,"

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  13. Sir Max, could this possibly be the surprise entry of Elbit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMX_International_AMX

    -EPhil-

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  14. Max,

    By any chance, do you get any words about Indonesia's much delayed ST from the manufacturer? I smell something fishy from the manufacturer. The Indonesians are not happy with the excuse from Embraer and they're taking the case to Brazil's defence minister. The minister promised to help pressure Embraer, but even the Indonesians don't want to reveal what excuses Embraer told them.

    Make sure PAF doesn't get into that situation if it decides to take ST.

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    Replies
    1. Contract breaches on delivery dates have financial implications against the manufacturer. It would definitely be a problem for the PAF if doesnt get what it needs. This reason is one of the major problems with Embraer, and I am sure Beechcraft (and all others) are using this in its fight for this contract.

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  15. Hi Sir Max, how about IAR-99C "Soim" ("Hawk") for Elbit entry?

    https://www.elbitsystems.com/elbitmain/area-in2.asp?parent=169&num=176&num2=176

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/iar_99c/

    -Ytzen

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  16. lol it moved to Oct. 3 >.<

    http://www.dnd.gov.ph/transparency/procurement/DND_BAC/Supplemental_Bid/SBB%20NR%20DND-AFP-PAF-CASA-14-07-004.pdf

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  17. Change schedule. Bid submision moved to October 3.

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  18. I occasionally visit here for the comments. Off-topic: any word on the Harpoon acquisition (if indeed we are acquiring Harpoons as an antiship missile)? Any news appreciated. Thanks!

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  19. modified or "Elbitized" Warthog for PH CAS?
    2010 - Elbit Systems of America completes purchase of 100% of M7 Aerospace LP.
    2003 - M7 purchased assets of Fairchild-Dornier Aviation, maker of Thunderbolt II.

    http://www.aviationpros.com/press_release/10392454/elbit-systems-of-america-completes-acquisition-of-m7-aerospace-for-85-million

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_(aircraft_manufacturer)

    -Ytzen

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    Replies
    1. don't count on it.

      A-10s are overkill for the intended purpose. (CAS for COIN operations). basically, they strapped a plane onto a fuckhuge 30mm rotary cannon.

      and knowing how the US treats those birds as their "war pride", they won't sell them or the designs that easily to anyone else.

      Delete
  20. CAS for COIN operations have different degree of requirements base on availability of assets and type of environment it needs to response. With all the talks about CAS aircrafts and the 2 C 130T additions to the Strategic airlift squadron of the PAF , it came to my mind the AC130 "Spectre gunship" . I know its out of the spectrum of the PAF at the moment to have the need for a particular size of aircraft and all of its weapons and sensors to maintain for that type of mission. But during the 70s muslim insurgency they were using Douglas AC 47 aka "puff the magic dragon" as air support. I'm just thinking outside the box that perhaps with a smaller airframe ,a similar weapon & sensor system ( C 295 or C 235 ..) may do the job. Im thinking less manpower , longer loiter time not to mention range and a higher accuracy & precision to unleash its payload.Most of the stories I've read about the AC 130 gunship during a much needed CAS and the proximity of "friendlies" in the area . It was able to perform and deliver to the enemy even in a CQB situation . Also with a nil or less than collateral damage and lessen degree of friendly fire casualty . Not to mention it also decreases the possibility of ground fire damage & casualties. Just a thought . Thanks Max .

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  21. Sir Max, What do you think of This Aircraft the OV-10G+ BRONCO?

    Here's the Link: http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/combat-dragon-ii-demonstrates-ov-10g-bronco-capabilities/

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  22. sir max, any news on the CAS acquisition?

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  23. sir max, could these possibly be offered by Elbit so as to really outbid Embraer? Elbit has these in their ads. Production in tandem with Georgian company Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-25

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  24. The P-750 XSTOL can be a more affordable CAS multi mission aircraft.

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  25. Compared to Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano for overall performace & capabilities, the Textron AirLand Scorpion is much more better and safer with 2 engines. But for purchase & operating costs, the Super Tucano propeller-driven fighter is cheaper than the Scorpion jet fighter. In July 2014, the Scorpion made its first public appearance at the Farnborough International Airshow & preliminary discussion have been held with the militaries of Malaysia, Brunei, & the Philippines.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textron_AirLand_Scorpion

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  26. I want either Super Tucano or Textron Scorpion to replace the OV-10. I don't like the L159 Alca as it has same capabilities as the FA-50 as a LIFT. What we need is an aircraft that is designed to provide CAS. As Maxdefense had said, we need an aircraft that will replace our aging S-211 trainer jets and can bridge the gap between SF360 and the FA-50. I believe that the Super Tucano or the Textron Scorpion can bridge that gap better and at the same time be effective in carrying out CAS missions.

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  27. If Elbit offers the A10 Thunderbolt that would be nice. :-)

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  28. If Elbit offers the A10 Thunderbolt that would be nice. :-)

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  29. Sir Max, In terms of operating cost the super tucano is cheaper at 500 usd/flight super tucano versus Textron Scorpion at 3000 usd per flight hr. Also, acquisitions cost is much cheaper compared to scorpion. However in terms of engine power and payload scorpion has the edge.

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