Three years ago this month and high over Destin, Florida, this was the first A-90 Raider flown with Blue Air Training (N275RX) shortly after it was assembled and received its FAA Airworthiness Certificate.
Over the past three years, the A-90 Raider has been at the forefront of our fleet and delivering the highest quality contract Close Air Support available to our Nation’s Warfighters. Just this past week, the latest A-90 to join our fleet, N702BA, just dropped its first 8 bombs ever leading the first two-ship of the week at Yuma SOTACC.
More about the A-90 Raider:
The A-90 Raider is an optimally designed aircraft used for Close Air Support (CAS) training, exclusively by Blue Air Training. The A-90 Raider is extremely effective as a JTAC training platform due its incredibly long endurance, upgraded communications, and the ability to carry weapons systems for realistic training.
Originally known as the L-90, the aircraft was designed and manufactured by Valmet. The Redigo was developed as a military trainer aircraft primarily used for pilot training and airframes were produced for the Finnish Air Force, the Mexican Navy, and the Eritrean Air Force. The L-90 is still in service with the Mexican Navy doing armed coastal patrol, arming the aircraft with dual FN HMP .50 cal pods.
Italian aircraft manufacturer Aermacchi later bought the license to produce the Redigo, rebranding it as the M-290. While it has always carried the hardpoints for weapons, Aermacchi never produced the M-290, and we believe that it wanted to ensure the aircraft would not grow to be a competitor to the SF-260, which despite being featured in a Bond movie, is soundly outperformed by the L-90.
In 2017, Blue Air Training procured the remaining equipment, parts, and spares from Valmet. After importing the aircraft and upgrading them to meet the requirements of Blue Air Training’s current and future contracts with the United States Air Force, the new U.S. version was rereleased as the A-90 Raider. The two newest production A-90 Raiders have less than 700 hours total time since new, and Blue Air Training currently has eight Raiders in their fleet.
More about the A-90 Raider:
*Crew: 2 pilots
*Capacity: 2 troops
*Dimensions: 28 ft long x 35 ft wingspan x 11 ft tall
*Max Gross Weight: 4,188 lbs with external stores
*Powerplant: Rolls-Royce M250 B-17F turboprop engine
*The fuselage is made from an all-metal, fail-safe, semi-monocoque structure
*Upgraded advanced avionics and glass cockpit to include ADS-B and satellite weather
*Digital Oxygen system thereby enabling aircraft operation to 25,000 feet
*Night and Loft delivery capable
*Cruise speed: 190 KTAS
*Maximum Speed (VDO ): 280 KIAS
*Climb: 2,697 feet per minute
*Range: 860 NM (2 x weapons stores / 2 x fuel tanks at 20,000 feet)
*Endurance: 4.5+ hours
*Service ceiling: FL250
*6 x Hardpoints, capable of carrying:
*Bombs: MALTS-4 Smart Weapons Rack. 4 x BDU-33 or 2 x Laser Guided training Rounds (LGTR)
*Gun: 500 rounds of 7.62mm per M-240 gun pod
*Rockets: 7 x 2.75” Rockets per LAU-131 rocket pod
*Extended range external fuel tanks
*Cursor On Target communications NAV suite allows the crew to execute digitally aided close air support (DACAS) at night.
*Two Encrypted Multiband UHF/FM/ VHF radios provide pilots with seamless communications with the airmen on the ground.
*The ability to utilize tactical datalink through the Harris ANW2 Mesh Network.
*Link-16 for Digitally aided Close Air Support (DaCAS)