US approves Wolverine sale to Tunisia

The US State Department has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of four Textron Aviation AT-6C Wolverine light attack aircraft and related equipment to the Tunisian government.

Approval of the potential sale – worth US$325.8m – was announced on February 26 by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Following this, the DSCA notified the US Congress, which will ultimately decide if the deal goes ahead.

Tunisia has requested to buy four AT-6C Wolverine turboprop-powered light attack aircraft along with related support equipment and munitions, including but not limited to, 468 Mk81 250lb general purpose bombs, 48 Mk82 500lb bombs and 3,290 Advance Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS).

AT-6 Wolverine [Textron Aviation]
A pair of AT-6 Wolverines in flight. Textron Aviation

The DSCA said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the [defence] capabilities and capacity of a major non-NATO ally, which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in North Africa.”

It goes on to say that the “proposed sale will improve Tunisia’s ability to meet current and future threats by increasing their capability and capacity to counter-terrorism and other violent extremist [organisation] threats. The AT-6 platform will bolster their capability to respond to and engage threats in multiple areas across the country. Additionally, the procurement of the AT-6 aircraft strengthens interoperability between Tunisia, regional allies, and the [US].” 

The DSCA also noted that Textron Aviation Defense in Wichita, Kansas, will be the prime contractor in delivering the four aircraft to the Tunisian government.

Brett Pierson, vice president of Defense Strategy and Sales at Textron Aviation, said: "[The company] looks forward to working with the government of Tunisia to deliver next-generation airborne solutions for their critical missions, [ensuring] unparalleled low acquisition, operating and training costs, and [leveraging] an integrated global service network."

If approved, Tunisia will become the first operator of the AT-6C variant of Textron Aviation’s Wolverine family. The light attack aircraft will complement Tunisia’s 12 T-6C Texan II advanced training aircraft, which went through the DSCA approval process in October 2019. All aircraft will be operated by the Tunisian Republic Air Force (TRAF).