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Piper PA-48 Enforcer

Steve Pace

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I'm hoping to acquire info/images re Piper PA-48 Enforcer program. -SP
 

Jos Heyman

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For starters:

Piper PA-48 Enforcer
Specifications:
span: 41'4", 12.60 m
length: 34'2", 10.41 m
engines: 1 Avco Lycoming T55 L 9
max. speed: 315 mph, 584 km/h

Being a turboprop development of the North American Mustang, a contract for two Enforcers was placed in September 1981 although the first aircraft had flown on 9 April 1981. From November 1983 to April 1984 the USAF evaluated the aircraft which, however, retained the civil registrations N481PE and N202PE.
 

F-14D

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Jos Heyman said:
For starters:

Piper PA-48 Enforcer
Specifications:
span: 41'4", 12.60 m
length: 34'2", 10.41 m
engines: 1 Avco Lycoming T55 L 9
max. speed: 315 mph, 584 km/h

Being a turboprop development of the North American Mustang, a contract for two Enforcers was placed in September 1981 although the first aircraft had flown on 9 April 1981. From November 1983 to April 1984 the USAF evaluated the aircraft which, however, retained the civil registrations N481PE and N202PE.
USAF itself wasn't interested in the Enforcer. It was a severe case of "Not Invented Here", plus it was seen as an alternative to the A-10. Now, the A-10 was a plane USAF didn't particularly want (after the AH-56 was canceled and the A-7 scheduled for phaseout), but- "If we're going to get a plane we don't particularly want to fly a mission we're not that interested in, Dammit, we're not going to use someone else's plane we don't want, it'll be our plane we don't want".

Congress said the planes were to be delivered USAF for evaluation. They neglected, though, to mandate that USAF had to actually evaluate them. If I recall correctly, USAF wouldn't even let their pilots fly the planes for evaluation ("safety reasons", you know), and once the manufacturers trial were complete, they just sorta sat there.
 

frank

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Umm, how do you figure it wasn't invented here?

F-14D said:
Jos Heyman said:
For starters:

Piper PA-48 Enforcer
Specifications:
span: 41'4", 12.60 m
length: 34'2", 10.41 m
engines: 1 Avco Lycoming T55 L 9
max. speed: 315 mph, 584 km/h

Being a turboprop development of the North American Mustang, a contract for two Enforcers was placed in September 1981 although the first aircraft had flown on 9 April 1981. From November 1983 to April 1984 the USAF evaluated the aircraft which, however, retained the civil registrations N481PE and N202PE.
USAF itself wasn't interested in the Enforcer. It was a severe case of "Not Invented Here", plus it was seen as an alternative to the A-10. Now, the A-10 was a plane USAF didn't particularly want (after the AH-56 was canceled and the A-7 scheduled for phaseout), but- "If we're going to get a plane we don't particularly want to fly a mission we're not that interested in, Dammit, we're not going to use someone else's plane we don't want, it'll be our plane we don't want".

Congress said the planes were to be delivered USAF for evaluation. They neglected, though, to mandate that USAF had to actually evaluate them. If I recall correctly, USAF wouldn't even let their pilots fly the planes for evaluation ("safety reasons", you know), and once the manufacturers trial were complete, they just sorta sat there.
 

Abraham Gubler

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frank said:
Umm, how do you figure it wasn't invented here?
Wasn’t invented by USAF. While Piper where busy sticking the nose of the YAT-28E on a Mustang USAF were specifying for a new CAS aircraft (later to become the A-10). They had given up on the essentially identical AT-28E Trojan and had their own plans for the AX. The Piper Enforcer just wasn’t what they wanted.
 

frank

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I see. I always understood NIH to be Here being US of A.

Abraham Gubler said:
frank said:
Umm, how do you figure it wasn't invented here?
Wasn’t invented by USAF. While Piper where busy sticking the nose of the YAT-28E on a Mustang USAF were specifying for a new CAS aircraft (later to become the A-10). They had given up on the essentially identical AT-28E Trojan and had their own plans for the AX. The Piper Enforcer just wasn’t what they wanted.
 

frank

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There are 6 pages of posts here. Maybe you can find some stuff there. It's been a while since I read thru them. http://warbirdinformationexchange.org/phpBB3/search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&keywords=enforcer


XB-70 Guy said:
I'm hoping to acquire info/images re Piper PA-48 Enforcer program. -SP
 

F-14D

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frank said:
I see. I always understood NIH to be Here being US of A.

Abraham Gubler said:
frank said:
Umm, how do you figure it wasn't invented here?
Wasn’t invented by USAF. While Piper where busy sticking the nose of the YAT-28E on a Mustang USAF were specifying for a new CAS aircraft (later to become the A-10). They had given up on the essentially identical AT-28E Trojan and had their own plans for the AX. The Piper Enforcer just wasn’t what they wanted.


NIH is a worldwide phenomena common to governments, large bureaucracies and big business (except when they decide to buy the smaller company with it, at which point it goes for NIH to IH). A classic non-DoD example is what happened to the DC-X program once it was given to NASA.
 

F-14D

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XB-70 Guy said:
I'm hoping to acquire info/images re Piper PA-48 Enforcer program. -SP

PA-48 can be thought of as son of Turbo Mustang III and grandson of Turbo Mustang II, both developed by Cavalier Aircraft, which at the time was quite successful modifying P-51s into two seaters for privat and executive use. (the Cavalier 2000).

Dug up some of my Enforcer stuff. What were you looking for?
 

Steve Pace

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F-14D said:
XB-70 Guy said:
I'm hoping to acquire info/images re Piper PA-48 Enforcer program. -SP

PA-48 can be thought of as son of Turbo Mustang III and grandson of Turbo Mustang II, both developed by Cavalier Aircraft, which at the time was quite successful modifying P-51s into two seaters for privat and executive use. (the Cavalier 2000).

Dug up some of my Enforcer stuff. What were you looking for?
High-res images primarily. -SP
 

frank

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What was the Turbo Mustang II? I've never heard of it.


F-14D said:
XB-70 Guy said:
I'm hoping to acquire info/images re Piper PA-48 Enforcer program. -SP

PA-48 can be thought of as son of Turbo Mustang III and grandson of Turbo Mustang II, both developed by Cavalier Aircraft, which at the time was quite successful modifying P-51s into two seaters for privat and executive use. (the Cavalier 2000).

Dug up some of my Enforcer stuff. What were you looking for?
 

F-14D

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frank said:
What was the Turbo Mustang II? I've never heard of it.


F-14D said:
XB-70 Guy said:
I'm hoping to acquire info/images re Piper PA-48 Enforcer program. -SP

PA-48 can be thought of as son of Turbo Mustang III and grandson of Turbo Mustang II, both developed by Cavalier Aircraft, which at the time was quite successful modifying P-51s into two seaters for privat and executive use. (the Cavalier 2000).

Dug up some of my Enforcer stuff. What were you looking for?
Turbo Mustang II was a short-lived name given to the conversion of the Mustang II aircraft (which first flew in Dec. 1967), where the 1,1760 ho Merlin 620 engine was replaced by a 1,740 shp Rolls Royce Dart turboprop. Future aircraft, Cavalier said, would be powered by a Dart 529 with 2,185 shop Dart 529, would have anti-skid brakes and optionally, reticulated foam fillings in the fuel tanks, structural armor in the cockpit and cowlings and an ejection seat. This was the turbo Mustang III, and the name was soon appplied to the Turbo Mustnag II to indicate it was a prototype for the production version.


The Enforcer was an outgrowth of Turbo Mustang III, but while the previous birds used existing P-51 components whenever feasible, the definitive Enforcer of the 1980s (an earlier version flew in the mid 1970s with 2,535 shp Lycoming T55-L-9) used at most 10%. The production version would have a 3,000 shp engine.
 

Stargazer2006

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I've always loved the Enforcer and thought that the U.S.A.F. and U.S. Army had missed a great opportunity for COIN missions. Recent history seems to prove me right since they are now on the lookout for a similar type.

I've attempted to reconstruct the Piper Enforcer production, including the Cavalier Mustangs. I've also added the Australian one-off Dart Mustang for the sake of completion. Information is mostly from Wikipedia and WIX.

TRANS FLORIDA Aviation Inc.

Executive Mustang 1958 P-51s modified into two-seaters for private and executive business use

Cavalier 2000 same as Executive Mustang, redesignated in 1961; reference to the 2,000-statute mile (3,200 km) range
Cavalier 750 differing in fuel capacity, reference to the approcimate 750-statute mile range
Cavalier 1200 differing in fuel capacity, reference to the approcimate 1,200-statute mile range
Cavalier 1500 differing in fuel capacity, reference to the approcimate 1,500-statute mile range
Cavalier 2500 differing in fuel capacity, reference to the approcimate 2,500-statute mile range

CAVALIER Aircraft Corporation

F-51D Mustang P-51s optimized as single-control ground attack fighters (1967, 9 built); 7 given to Bolivia under Peace Condor, 2 sold to U.S. Army as chase aircraft

TF-51D Mustang P-51s optimized as dual-control ground attack fighters (1967, 2 built); given to Bolivia under Peace Condor

F-51D Mustang II outgrowth of the F-51D designed for close air support and counterinsurgency operations; improved Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-724A engine; first flew in Dec. 1967 (4 for El Salvador in 1968, 5 for Indonesia in 1972-73)

TF-51D Mustang II dual-control version (1 for El Salvador in 1968, 1 for Indonesia in 1972-73)

Turbo Mustang II (III) 1968 conversion of the Mustang II aircraft where the 1,760 hp Merlin 620 engine was replaced by a 1,740 shp Rolls Royce Dart 510 turboprop [N6167U]

Turbo Mustang III planned development with anti-skid brakes and optionally, reticulated foam fillings in the fuel tanks, structural armor in the cockpit and cowlings and an ejection seat; powered by a 2,185 shp Dart 529 (not built)


PIPER Aircraft

Enforcer early version built with a 2,535 shp Lycoming T55-L-9 engine snatched from the YAT-28E (1971, 2 built)
* PE-1 modified from the Turbo Mustang airframe; performed well in the Pave COIN test flown by USAF pilots [N201PE]
* PE-2 2-seat, dual control airframe modified straight from a Mustang airframe; lost in a crash off the Florida Coast on 12 July 1971 due to flutter caused by a Piper-modified elevator trim tab [N202PE]

Enforcer outgrowth of Turbo Mustang III using no more than 10% of Mustang elements; powered by an Avco Lycoming T55-L-9 turboprop; tested during 1983 and 1984 at Eglin AFB, Florida and Edwards AFB, California (1983, 2 built)
* N481PE: fully restored; "Prototype Hangar" at the National Museum of USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio
* N482PE: awaits restoration at Edwards Air Force Base

Enforcer production variant with a 3,000 shp engine (not built)


OTHER

Dart Mustang conversion done in Australia with a RR Dart turboprop, but never flown (1977) (A68-187 > VH-UFO > now "44-74839" N50FS "La Pistolera")
 

frank

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So the version that's commonly known as Turbo Mustang III is actually a Turbo Mustang II & the Turbo Mustang III was never built?
 

Stargazer2006

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frank said:
So the version that's commonly known as Turbo Mustang III is actually a Turbo Mustang II & the Turbo Mustang III was never built?
No. The Turbo Mustang III that was we know, which was a single prototype, was initially designated Turbo Mustang II and was rebuilt as the very first Piper Enforcer. It was rechristened as "III" in anticipation for a possible production version (following the Mustang I and Mustang II) that never materialized.
 

F-14D

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Stargazer2006 said:
I've always loved the Enforcer and thought that the U.S.A.F. and U.S. Army had missed a great opportunity for COIN missions. Recent history seems to prove me right since they are now on the lookout for a similar type.
Nice info. In defense of the Army, it's not like they missed an opportunity. Under the "Roles and Missions" universe in which Army and USAF live, USAF would never have allowed Army to get such fixed wing (see armed Mohawk, or even USAF's reaction to AH-56 when Army mentioned that by putting the pusher in beta it could dive bomb). "It may not be a plane or mission we want, but there's no way we're gonna let them have it". This still continues to an extent today. Just take a look at the history of the JCA/C-27J program.
 

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F-14D said:
Stargazer2006 said:
I've always loved the Enforcer and thought that the U.S.A.F. and U.S. Army had missed a great opportunity for COIN missions. Recent history seems to prove me right since they are now on the lookout for a similar type.
Nice info. In defense of the Army, it's not like they missed an opportunity. Under the "Roles and Missions" universe in which Army and USAF live, USAF would never have allowed Army to get such fixed wing (see armed Mohawk, or even USAF's reaction to AH-56 when Army mentioned that by putting the pusher in beta it could dive bomb). "It may not be a plane or mission we want, but there's no way we're gonna let them have it". This still continues to an extent today. Just take a look at the history of the JCA/C-27J program.
And NOT in the "defense" of the USAF, they were seriously considering GIVING the Army the A-10s in the inventory prior to 1991 as EVERY study done said that such close support aircraft could NEVER survive on a modern battlefield! (We were at the same time putting out reams of studies on how much BETTER a CAS version of the F-16 would be.... Hmmmm I don't THINK I see any "conflicting-interests" with this scenerio, but I could be mistaken! :) )

Course that all went straight out the window after the A-10 became the "star-of-the-show" during the 1991 Iraq Air Show and Combat Demonstration :)

RAndy
 

F-14D

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RanulfC said:
F-14D said:
Stargazer2006 said:
I've always loved the Enforcer and thought that the U.S.A.F. and U.S. Army had missed a great opportunity for COIN missions. Recent history seems to prove me right since they are now on the lookout for a similar type.
Nice info. In defense of the Army, it's not like they missed an opportunity. Under the "Roles and Missions" universe in which Army and USAF live, USAF would never have allowed Army to get such fixed wing (see armed Mohawk, or even USAF's reaction to AH-56 when Army mentioned that by putting the pusher in beta it could dive bomb). "It may not be a plane or mission we want, but there's no way we're gonna let them have it". This still continues to an extent today. Just take a look at the history of the JCA/C-27J program.
And NOT in the "defense" of the USAF, they were seriously considering GIVING the Army the A-10s in the inventory prior to 1991 as EVERY study done said that such close support aircraft could NEVER survive on a modern battlefield! (We were at the same time putting out reams of studies on how much BETTER a CAS version of the F-16 would be.... Hmmmm I don't THINK I see any "conflicting-interests" with this scenerio, but I could be mistaken! :) )

Course that all went straight out the window after the A-10 became the "star-of-the-show" during the 1991 Iraq Air Show and Combat Demonstration :)

RAndy
This is true. They also tried to give them to the Marines. In the case of the Army scenario, there were some caveats: Army would not be allowed to expand airfields at their bases that didn't already have runways big enough to handle the A-10, and Army would not be permitted to develop a follow-on aircraft in the future. This was IMHO a reflection of the priority USAF historically gave to CAS. If I ever get around to actually posting it, my A-7F story mentions the F-16 and CAS.
 

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I see. There's never been a lot of info & the Turbo III is one of my favs. I knew its airframe was mated with the T-55 from the YAT-28E & then the history gets more vague. The Enforcer's fairly well covered I think & I always envisioned it to have been the "Skyraider of the '80s." :) IIRC, one of the detractors of either design was the fact it was a taildragger.


Stargazer2006 said:
frank said:
So the version that's commonly known as Turbo Mustang III is actually a Turbo Mustang II & the Turbo Mustang III was never built?
No. The Turbo Mustang III that was we know, which was a single prototype, was initially designated Turbo Mustang II and was rebuilt as the very first Piper Enforcer. It was rechristened as "III" in anticipation for a possible production version (following the Mustang I and Mustang II) that never materialized.
 

Arjen

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Off-topic: isn't this a dead ringer for Wile E. Coyote?
 

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funkychinaman

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Any chance someone is going to whip out the Enforcer for the light attack competition? It looks like the OV-10 is going to be coming back for it.
 

frank

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My guess is that mainly due to it being taildragger, it won't be.


funkychinaman said:
Any chance someone is going to whip out the Enforcer for the light attack competition? It looks like the OV-10 is going to be coming back for it.
 

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frank said:
My guess is that mainly due to it being taildragger, it won't be.


funkychinaman said:
Any chance someone is going to whip out the Enforcer for the light attack competition? It looks like the OV-10 is going to be coming back for it.
I wouldn't sweat the taildragger aspect; after all, an Air Force pilot can fly anything-just ask them (well, except maybe the T-3A). To my mind, here are two big reason why it probably won't come back, which is too bad bad because it would be ideal for what they're looking for, assuming USAF doesn't lose interest again.

The first is that the other aircraft being looked at are flying today and are sort of off the shelf. The Enforcer never went into production so it's development would have to be completed. given the way we do things nowadays, that's a good five years at least. A related issue is who owns the rights to build it. Piper? Or Lockheed which secured a license from Piper to possibly submit it for consideration and production for US gov't sales.

The second is the culture. USAF rejected the plane once as not needed. To now order it would imply that the original decision was "wrong". A big bureaucracy simply isn't going to let that happen.
 

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Two photos from the magazine FLUGZEUG 05/91, showing the Piper PA-48 Enforcer
and another one and a 3-view from "Flugzeuge der Welt 1972" , the German version of
Greens "Aircraft of the World", showing the PE-1 :
 

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frank

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I think this is the first time I've seen a pic & especially a 3 view of the PE-1. Thanks.


Jemiba said:
Two photos from the magazine FLUGZEUG 05/91, showing the Piper PA-48 Enforcer
and another one and a 3-view from "Flugzeuge der Welt 1972" , the German version of
Greens "Aircraft of the World", showing the PE-1 :
 

frank

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Hey, I just happened to think. The PE-1 & PA-48 were both called Enforcer, but the PE-1 was actually the Turbo Mustang III, basically a P-51D. with the Lycoming & the PA-48 was an entirely different airframe. I wonder if Piper was using a bit of deception there.
 

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frank said:
Hey, I just happened to think. The PE-1 & PA-48 were both called Enforcer, but the PE-1 was actually the Turbo Mustang III, basically a P-51D. with the Lycoming & the PA-48 was an entirely different airframe. I wonder if Piper was using a bit of deception there.
Nah. Everyone new what was what, the PA-48 was just the more developed version. No reaosn to change the name.
 

Stargazer2006

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frank said:
Hey, I just happened to think. The PE-1 & PA-48 were both called Enforcer, but the PE-1 was actually the Turbo Mustang III, basically a P-51D. with the Lycoming & the PA-48 was an entirely different airframe. I wonder if Piper was using a bit of deception there.
PE-1 and PE-2 were not type designations, they were merely the constructor's numbers for the first two Enforcers (which were not YET called PA-48 at the time). And true, the first of these used to be the Cavalier Turbo Mustang III, but nobody made a secret of that!

When the 3rd and 4th aircraft were built, the designation PA-48 was applied to them—and maybe also retrospectively to the first two, though I'm not sure of that.
 

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Umm, how do you figure it wasn't invented here?

F-14D said:
Jos Heyman said:
For starters:

Piper PA-48 Enforcer
Specifications:
span: 41'4", 12.60 m
length: 34'2", 10.41 m
engines: 1 Avco Lycoming T55 L 9
max. speed: 315 mph, 584 km/h

Being a turboprop development of the North American Mustang, a contract for two Enforcers was placed in September 1981 although the first aircraft had flown on 9 April 1981. From November 1983 to April 1984 the USAF evaluated the aircraft which, however, retained the civil registrations N481PE and N202PE.
USAF itself wasn't interested in the Enforcer. It was a severe case of "Not Invented Here", plus it was seen as an alternative to the A-10. Now, the A-10 was a plane USAF didn't particularly want (after the AH-56 was canceled and the A-7 scheduled for phaseout), but- "If we're going to get a plane we don't particularly want to fly a mission we're not that interested in, Dammit, we're not going to use someone else's plane we don't want, it'll be our plane we don't want".

Congress said the planes were to be delivered USAF for evaluation. They neglected, though, to mandate that USAF had to actually evaluate them. If I recall correctly, USAF wouldn't even let their pilots fly the planes for evaluation ("safety reasons", you know), and once the manufacturers trial were complete, they just sorta sat there.
I was on the the Combined Test Force for the PA-48, working for AFOTEC at the time. My job was reliability and maintainability, so we focused on tracking failure rates on the aircraft during testing. I never sat in on any of the management meetings during the testing, and only heard the scuttlebutt from the enlisted troops, so take what a say here with a grain of salt. The word was that a bigwig at Piper (VP or something) thought up the idea for a cheap export attack aircraft. The rest of the company wasn't thrilled with the idea, but then the bigwig left Piper and became an executive at FAA. The folks at Piper figured that if they tried to cancel the project, it might make it difficult to keep getting their other planes certified by the FAA, so they presented it as an unsolicited proposal to the USAF, who was under some pressure to test it even if they didn't need it (they already had the A-10). The plane was an oddity, with turboprop engine replacing the existing engine with a prop from a C-130 with the tips cut short so they wouldn't hit the ground. I remember that the pilots had to wear running shoes to fly it because it was too difficult to control while wearing flight boots. It was supposed to operate out of unimproved fields, but we found that we could even control it during taxing on dirt fields, much less take off and land with it. It was to be equipped with a 30mm gun pod under each wing, but someone figured out before we tested the gun pods that if one fired and the other didn't, we would probably tear the wings off.
 

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Welcome and thank you for the wonderful insights on this program.
 

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Umm, how do you figure it wasn't invented here?

F-14D said:
Jos Heyman said:
For starters:

Piper PA-48 Enforcer
Specifications:
span: 41'4", 12.60 m
length: 34'2", 10.41 m
engines: 1 Avco Lycoming T55 L 9
max. speed: 315 mph, 584 km/h

Being a turboprop development of the North American Mustang, a contract for two Enforcers was placed in September 1981 although the first aircraft had flown on 9 April 1981. From November 1983 to April 1984 the USAF evaluated the aircraft which, however, retained the civil registrations N481PE and N202PE.
USAF itself wasn't interested in the Enforcer. It was a severe case of "Not Invented Here", plus it was seen as an alternative to the A-10. Now, the A-10 was a plane USAF didn't particularly want (after the AH-56 was canceled and the A-7 scheduled for phaseout), but- "If we're going to get a plane we don't particularly want to fly a mission we're not that interested in, Dammit, we're not going to use someone else's plane we don't want, it'll be our plane we don't want".

Congress said the planes were to be delivered USAF for evaluation. They neglected, though, to mandate that USAF had to actually evaluate them. If I recall correctly, USAF wouldn't even let their pilots fly the planes for evaluation ("safety reasons", you know), and once the manufacturers trial were complete, they just sorta sat there.
I was on the the Combined Test Force for the PA-48, working for AFOTEC at the time. My job was reliability and maintainability, so we focused on tracking failure rates on the aircraft during testing. I never sat in on any of the management meetings during the testing, and only heard the scuttlebutt from the enlisted troops, so take what a say here with a grain of salt. The word was that a bigwig at Piper (VP or something) thought up the idea for a cheap export attack aircraft. The rest of the company wasn't thrilled with the idea, but then the bigwig left Piper and became an executive at FAA. The folks at Piper figured that if they tried to cancel the project, it might make it difficult to keep getting their other planes certified by the FAA, so they presented it as an unsolicited proposal to the USAF, who was under some pressure to test it even if they didn't need it (they already had the A-10). The plane was an oddity, with turboprop engine replacing the existing engine with a prop from a C-130 with the tips cut short so they wouldn't hit the ground. I remember that the pilots had to wear running shoes to fly it because it was too difficult to control while wearing flight boots. It was supposed to operate out of unimproved fields, but we found that we could even control it during taxing on dirt fields, much less take off and land with it. It was to be equipped with a 30mm gun pod under each wing, but someone figured out before we tested the gun pods that if one fired and the other didn't, we would probably tear the wings off.
Finally!
A logical explanation for why Piper Enforcer program lasted as long as it did.
A far more logical replacement would have been the turbine-engined T-28 variant operated by Taiwan. The AIDC CH-1 variant was powered by a 1,451 horsepower Lycoming T53-L-701 turboprop turning a 3-bladed propeller. They were primarily used as advanced trainers by the Taiwan Air Force.

Also consider the YAT-28E prototypes powered by 2,445 horsepower, Lycoming YT-55L-9 turboprops, capable of carrying 6,000 pounds of bombs on 12 under-wing hard-points. North American Aviation converted three T-28As and submitted them for testing. The first YAT-28E prototype flew in 1963, but the program was cancelled in 1965.
 
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