“This rugged, sustainable platform will operate in permissive environments and austere conditions around the world to safeguard our Special Operations Forces on the ground,” USSOCOM Commander Gen. Richard Clarke said in an emailed statement.
Not for nothing, but “permissive environments” sure as heck sounds like Ukraine.
Just for context, I’m a lifelong Michigander (incidentally descended from Jews who fled Ukraine back in the 1920s). Cropdusters are still fairly common here in Michigan (and the terrain, I’m told, is quite Ukraine-ish).
My wife grew up in blueberry country, and there are still plenty of fields around her folks’ place, and folks spray them from cropdusters. It is absurd and terrifying how nimble these planes are. Average Joe flyers regularly bring them in below the tree line to dust a field, and then pop back out to dive into the adjacent field. In other words, they can come in over the horizon too low to detect–likely too low to see–and be on top of you before you can bring a turret around.
Given the performance we saw of Russian tanks early in the war in Ukraine, planes like these would fucking mow them down like a goddamned scythe.