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US SOCOM requests USD170 Mn for 6 AT-802U Sky Warden armed ISR aircraft


U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is requesting $193 million for the Armed Overwatch program in fiscal 2022, including $170 million in procurement for six Air Tractor AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft.

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US SOCOM requests USD170 Mn for 6 AT 802U Sky Warden armed ISR aircraft

Air Tractor AT-802U Sky Warden is the companies' entry in U.S. Special Operations Command's Armed Overwatch program. (Picture source: Air Tractor)


The AT-802U Sky Warden combines Air Tractor’s rugged platform with L3Harris’ mature mission solutions. L3Harris Technologies and Air Tractor teamed to produce the AT-802U Sky Warden, an affordable, production-ready aircraft designed for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other missions in extreme combat environments.

Sky Warden is based on the rugged and capable Air Tractor AT-802, which features the largest payload capacity of any single-engine turboprop aircraft. It hosts L3Harris’ world-class family of communications, sensors and airborne ISR solutions. The platform is backed by the company’s extensive turnkey ISR operation experience.

The multi-mission platform provides the operator agility and flexibility to identify, track and react to counter threats. It merges the capabilities of larger ISR and armed aircraft into one resilient package. It is also capable of takeoff and landing on unimproved airstrips – allowing the aircraft to be deployed and co-located with special mission operators.

“Air Tractor aircraft were developed precisely to operate in austere environments with limited infrastructure,” said Jim Hirsch, President, Air Tractor, Inc. “Our aircraft are built to offer unparalleled flexibility, essential ingredients for special mission operators.”

“Our mission systems, platforms, direct operators and sustainment teams have supported more than 1.3 million combat hours of special operations ISR and attack missions in the past 10 years,” said Luke Savoie, President, Aviation Services, L3Harris. “Combining that experience with Air Tractor, one of the largest turboprop aircraft OEMs in the world, enables our team to design and provide a mature platform capable of operating anywhere in the world and provides the tools needed to support any mission.”

Sky Warden’s name commemorates two best-in-class, multi-mission special operations combat platforms. It merges the deep history of the Vietnam-era A-1E Sky Raider with the present-day U-28, which uses the callsign “Warden” during combat operations. Sky Warden combines their heritage and capabilities to collapse the stack, providing one aircraft capable of multiple mission roles.