America and North Korea are engaged in a fierce war of words which many fear could get uglier and even turn into a catastrophic war. Amidst these tensions America has now unveiled a new but very unconventional weapon in its armory. It is the modified crop duster christened the Longsword. It is actually Air Tractor’s AT-802 crop duster that has been suitably modified to fly on reconnaissance, attack or surveillance missions as required.
Till now the AT-802 has been a popular crop spraying plane but now a modified version of the plane is undergoing tests in New Mexico at the Holloman air force base.
Useful in combat situations:
A suitably armored and fortified Longsword can be used as a light attack aircraft to provide air support to American Army teams on the ground in combat situations and this could free the other more advanced aircraft for other missions.
The Longsword has been suitably modified for use in the US military. The cockpit and the fuel lines have been armored and the wings have been strengthened so that they can carry weapons to hit the enemy and hit them hard.
The weapons that can be fitted on a Longsword range from the machine gun and rocket pods to the highly precise hellfire missile. This missile is designed to penetrate advanced armored vehicles and can also be used to strike down an individual terrorist.
The pilots of these aircraft can utilize the Thales’ Scorpion Helmet Mounting Cueing System and just by turning their head can steer weapons towards the target with the help of sensor cuing.
The aircraft can also carry the 225 kg Mark 82 general purpose unguided bomb and even the laser guided GBU-12 bombs.
Versatile and agile aircraft
Powered by the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67AG turbine engine which gives it enough power to be able to fly at a speed of 200 miles per hour and equipped with state of the art sensor, the Longsword is indeed a very versatile and agile aircraft that can not only climb rapidly but also fly at low altitudes in deep ravines with ease which could prove to be very beneficial in mountainous regions.
It does not need a proper runway to land or take –off. It can land on tiny airstrips less than one kilometer long and even on dirt roads which makes it invaluable in combat situations and in places which are hard to reach. It can land anywhere to be reloaded and refueled and can take off quickly saving lot of time. This could prove very crucial in combat and emergency situations and even life saving for troops in cases where a difference of just some minutes could prove to be the difference between life and death for them.