Orbital ATK would deliver seven armed Cessna AC-208 Caravan aircraft to the Afghan National Army under a pending US Air Force contract award, the US armed service says.
According to flightglobal.com, an acquisition notice posted by the Air Force late on 27 December invites comments on a plan to award the contract to Orbital ATK without a competition.
Any responses with alternative options must be submitted to the Aeronautical Systems Center by 12 January. Bids from non-American companies are excluded due to security requirements, the Air Force notice says.
If finalised, the deal would add to the seven AC-208s to 208 more aircraft that the Department of Defense supplied to the Afghan military and police between 2007 and 2016, according to a 10 August report by the US Government Accountability Office.
Flightglobal.com reported that the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing already operate the unarmed version of the C-208 turboprop as a cargo and utility transport.
Orbital ATK advertises the AC-208 Eliminator as a mini-gunship equipped with 70mm (2.75in) guided rockets and Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft also comes with sensors, target designators, data links and self-protection systems.
The company would deliver the seven aircraft for inspection and approval to the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, the Air Force notice says.