STOL transport There is also an obvious requirement for a larger transport aircraft with rough field STOL capabilities. In certain situations there may be a requirement for an aircraft to land in hostile territory, deploy or recover personnel and quickly take off. Useful features would include:-
The ability to land using braking chutes and to take off with Rocket assistance.
The ability to transport light vehicles, a platoon of infantry or a smaller number of paratroopers.
Engines designed for low noise and low infra-red signature.
A rear ramp or door that can be opened in flight.
A night vision system for the pilot for night-time landings.
A variety of undercarriage systems to suit differing terrain types.
Flexibly mounted armament that can be used to defend the aircraft when on the ground.
An aircraft that comes close to meeting these requirements is the Israeli Arava.
The Arava's capability to mount armament has also seen it used in a Gunship role in the manner of the AC-47 Spooky. The Arava uses .50 BHMGs. Alternate armaments include 7.62mm mini-guns and Automatic Grenade launchers. A likely aircraft to be adapted to the above configuration is the C-23 Sherpa in service with the National Guard
COIN Fighter. Although the main need for aircraft in a COIN campaign will be for versatile air platforms such as the Buzzard there may still be a requirement for dedicated strike aircraft. This role is often taken by attack variants of jet trainers but many of these aircraft require a prepared field to operate from. It is possible that a turboprop aircraft, similar to a World War 2 fighter may prove a better alternative to the requirement of a low cost, high performance close support aircraft. I'm tempted to suggest something like the P-51 Mustang, though an aircraft with the cloth and dope construction of the Hurricane may be more appropriate. Interestingly, P-51s were being used in this role by some airforces at least as recently as the mid sixties. An updated model was the Piper PA-48 Enforcer
There is a good case for re-introducing the A-37 as a close support aircraft. My personal suggestion is that the nose 7.62mm Mini-gun be replaced by a vision and designation system rather like the TADS of the AH-64. For gun armament the aircraft would carry one or more pods with either Gecal .50 Gatlings or a 30x113mm cannon such as the M230. Main armament would be 2.75" (Hydra 70mm) FFAR pods and missiles, including laser-guided Hydra and Starstreak missiles for a dual ground attack and self defence role.
Several people who have read this article in G2mil have suggested re-introduction of the A-1 Skyraider. I've heard of worse ideas, but would suggest that maybe a modern version of the Dornier 335 Pfeil that shares components with the Buzzard would be a good idea. Like the Pfeil this version would have an internal weapons bay. In more conventional wars such an aircraft could serve as escort to large formations of helicopters.