Tunisia can now proceed with its plans to procure four AT-6C Wolverine light attack aircraft from the United States after its request for a possible military sale was recently approved.
The deal which is worth $325 million includes associated equipment, as well as 468 Mk 81 250 lb bombs, 48 Mk 82 500 lb bombs, 3 290 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) rockets, two spare Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68D 1600 shp engines, six L-3 WESCAM MX 15D Multi-Spectral Targeting System, and six 12.7 mm machine guns.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible sale on 25 February.
“The proposed sale will improve Tunisia’s ability to meet current and future threats by increasing their capability and capacity to counter-terrorism and other violent extremist organization threats. The AT-6 platform will bolster their capability to respond to and engage threats in multiple areas across the country. Additionally, the procurement of the AT-6 aircraft strengthens interoperability between Tunisia, regional allies, and the United States,” the DSCA said.
Tunis initially requested for a dozen T-6C Texan II advanced trainers last year, along with its associating spare engines, flight trainer, spares, ground handling equipment, and support equipment.
The DSCA subsequently notified Congress about the request on 10 October 2019, citing that Textron Aviation Defence would be the primary contractor. However, the sale appears to have stalled due to lack of funding.
The incoming AT-6C Wolverine advanced attack and trainer aircraft will be used to train new pilots as well as to support the ongoing counter-terror and border security operations in Tunisia.
The AT-6C Wolverine light attack aircraft has seven hardpoints, and can be armed with; 1,860 kg of ordnance including HMP-400 .50 calibre machine guns, Mk 81 and Mk 82 unguided bombs, GBU-12, GUB-58, GBU-49 and GBU-59 Paveway II guided bombs, laser-guided rockets, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and flares.
It also features enhanced targeting capabilities via its MX-15D multi-sensor suite with colour and infrared cameras, laser designator, laser illuminator and laser rangefinder.