Close Air Support with a French Flair

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LH Aviation, the small French company looking to push its LH10 Ellipse into the hands of military operators, is working on a close air support version of the aircraft.

The goal is to fly the aircraft in March 2013 to showcase it at the Paris air show next year -- earlier versions of the aircraft have already been on show there.

The aircraft would be capable of carrying four laser-guided 68-mm-diameter rockets built by Thales’s TDA unit. The lasing would be performed from the aircraft using the gimbaled sensor introduced on the light surveillance version of the LH10. The aircraft was initially introduced as a training aircraft.

The two-seat aircraft is powered by a single Rotax 912UKS engine driving a 3-bladed pusher propeller delivering 100 shaft horsepower. Maximum cruise speed it 175 knots. The maximum takeoff weight of the aircraft is 1,102 lb.

The Benin air force took delivery of two aircraft last year.

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