The LASA "T-Bird", from Bulgaria-based LASA ("Light Armed Surveillance Aircraft"), is another entry into the growing low-cost close support / attack category that currently includes the Air Tractor AT-802U, the L-3 Technologies "Longsword" and the IOMAX "Archangel". The T-Bird relies on the proven framework of the agricultural-industry-minded Thrush 510G series fixed-wing aircraft and adds to it a host of systems and sub-systems to make for a dedicated light-strike platform with low operating costs and high loitering times.
The aircraft was debuted at the 2017 Paris Air Show and is known to be operating over the African continent under private contractor ownership.
The T-Bird is intended for the light strike / counter-insurgency role as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles. Its design origins are ideally suited for these sortie types where time-in-the-air is a key requisite. Tactical capability and survivability are added to make for a viable weapons platform.
The wing mainplanes have clipped tips and are straight, given multiple (three-to-a-wing) underwing hardpoints for the carrying of bombs, rocket pods, machine gun pods and precision munitions while also providing the needed inherent lift and drag for low-level flying. At the "chin" position is an optics fit (housing an electro-optical camera and data-link). The wheeled undercarriage is fixed and of a "tail-dragger" configuration while be rugged for short field / rough field operations. The tail unit seats a single vertical stabilizer and low-mounted horizontal planes in the usual way. As the T-Bird is developed from the existing 510G, it is powered by the same General Electric H80 series turboprop engine and this is used to drive a four-bladed propeller at the nose. Internally, the aircraft seats two in tandem and features all-modern glass cockpits (night vision capable) with Western instrumentation and avionics (the latter provided for by Aspen Avionics). The cockpit and engine sections are armored against the hazards of low-altitude, low-speed attack runs.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
29.2 ft (8.90 m)
44.3 ft (13.50 m)
9.2 ft (2.80 m)
3,704 lb (1,680 kg)
6,945 lb (3,150 kg)
+3,241 lb (+1,470 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base LASA T-Bird production variant)
1 x General Electric H80 turboprop engine developing 800 horsepower and driving a four-bladed propeller at the nose.
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