A private security firm known as Lancaster6 has offered to provide the government of Afghanistan with a “turnkey air wing” with range of aviation assets. A look at the aircraft it offers:

A-4 Skyhawk

Once flown by Sen. John McCain, the A-4 Skyhawk was a carrier-based aircraft used by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps squadrons from 1956 to 1987. Made by McDonnell Douglas, the A-4 served as a light attack aircraft and could also carry tactical nuclear weapons.

(Lt. JG Nelson/Navy)
(Lt. JG Nelson/Navy)
T-Bird

Using the same airframe as a crop duster, the T-Bird has advanced sensors for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and it can be fitted with weapons such as 57 mm rocket launchers and twin 23 mm cannon. It is made by the Bulgarian company Light Armed Surveillance Aircraft (LASA) Engineering Ltd.

(LASA Engineering)
(LASA Engineering)
Aérospatiale Gazelle

The five-seat helicopter is used for reconnaissance, transport and light attack missions. Both the French and British militaries use the helicopter, which can be fitted by anti-tank rockets and a 20 mm cannon. The Gazelle is manufactured under a joint production agreement between Aérospatiale and Westland Aircraft.

(French Defense Ministry)
(French Defense Ministry)
AN-26

Produced from 1969 to 1986, the AN-26 is a light transport aircraft that can carry up to 40 passengers for air mobility missions. One version of the aircraft has twin 30 mm cannon to support troops on the ground. The airplane was built by Antonov, which is now part of the Ukrainian state-run defense industry Ukroboronprom.

(Adrian Pingstone, Wikipedia Commons)
(Adrian Pingstone, Wikipedia Commons)
Lionseye

The Lionseye is a proprietary aircraft provided by Lancaster6. It can fly for 12 continuous hours for day or night missions.

(Lionseye illustration)
(Lionseye illustration)
Super Puma

Made by the European company Airbus, the Super Puma can carry up to 24 troops and a crew of two for transport missions. For medical evacuation flights, it can carry six passengers in stretchers plus 10 other passengers. The helicopter is also able to lift 4.5 tons with a sling.

(French Defense Ministry)
(French Defense Ministry)

Blackwater founder wants to boost the Afghan air war with his private air force

Erik Prince, the former CEO of the private military company formerly known as Blackwater, wants to run the Afghan air war with a private air force capable of intelligence collection and close-air support, according to a recent proposal submitted to the Afghan government.