On Wednesday, July 1st Stavatti Aerospace began optimizing the SM-27J/L Turbofan Machete and SM-47S Super Machete variants to address anticipated USAF Northern Command (NorthCom) and U.S. Air National Guard (USANG) needs. About the Machete Originally intended as a next-generation attack and air defense export for U.S. allies requiring combat aircraft to replace OV-10s, A-37s, A-4s, F-5s and F-16As, the Machete series was developed around a plug-and-play architecture to comply with ITAR export limitations. The Machete series satisfies Counter- Insurgency (COIN), Close Air Support (CAS), Air Defense Fighter (ADF), and Advanced Trainer (AT) missions and the three Machete variants; the SM-27S/T Turboprop, SM-27J/L Turbofan, and the SM-47S/T Super Machete, share a common airframe core.
Stavatti is developing domestic variants of the Turbofan and Super Machete as privately sponsored commercial initiatives.The Turbofan Machete may be ready for IOC by 2014/2015 and the Super Machete by 2015/2016 pending the securing of bankable orders and contracts sufficient to merit the commercial or institutional lender funding of the respective Demonstration and Validation (Dem/Val) development programs. Both aircraft can satisfy potential NorthCom and USANG needs and fill the pending fighter gap.
Stavatti is designing a dedicated ASA variant of the Super Machete to prepare for the coming fighter gap between 2015 and 2017 when eight of the 11 USANG F-16 units currently flying Air Sovereignty Alert (ASA) missions reach their end of life. To address specific NorthCom and USANG needs in the 2015-2025 time-frame, the aircraft will benefit from a fully integrated domestic-oriented avionics, sensor, and EW suite that will include an AESA radar. Stavatti is considering the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). Originally designed to equip the F-16, quoting Northrop Grumman, “the SABR will offer an active electronically scanned multi- function array at significant cost savings.” The Super Machete ASA may also be equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-37 Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (EO DAS). This forward swept-wing, single-seat, highly maneuverable single-engine fighter is powered by the GEAE F414-GE-400. The high-performance multi-role aircraft can perform F-16 ASA missions at significantly lower operating and support costs. Unlike export-configured variants, the domestic version will feature signature reducing features including canted vertical stabilizers, a shielded engine compressor face, and export-restricted Radar Absorbent Materials (RAM) to significantly reduce aircraft Radar Cross Section (RCS). With a projected per unit flyaway cost in the $25 Million class, the first Super Machete ASAs could enter IOC by 2016. In support of the USAF need for an Advanced T-38 successor, Stavatti has submitted information regarding the two-seat tandem SM-47T Supersonic Trainer Super Machete variant in response to the USAF Advanced Pilot Training (APT) Family of Systems (FoS) RFI on April 30th, 2009.
As both NorthCom and USANG require dedicated fighters and multi-role aircraft for maritime surveillance, air patrol, and interdiction, Stavatti is developing a dedicated USANG variant of the SM-27J/L Turbofan Machete. This aircraft features a non-afterburning F414 derivative engine benefiting from a similar fuselage core, modular cockpit, air inlet system and nose/avionics bay that could provide NorthCom and USANG with a high subsonic, long-range, compact, and affordable CAS, SEAD, FAC, Interdiction, Air Patrol, and maritime surveillance aircraft. The titanium winged and highly armored aircraft is equipped with a fixed 30mm cannon and eight external stores hardpoints. It can perform missions once satisfied by many classic aircraft including the A-10, A-4, A-6, A-7, F/A-18 and F-16. The Turbofan Machete USANG can be equipped with SABR and the AN/AAQ-37 and will feature export restricted avionics and sensor systems to provide leading edge continental air defense capability. SM-27IT Machete To perform the ISR mission, the extended wing SM-27IT will provide U-2 like operational capability using a common SM-27J core.