Yes - it would be a good idea to buy a batch of these armed Tucanos, then leave them all behind for the Afghans when we finally withdraw.
I too do not see such aircraft as an alternative to fast jets; rather, they lend added capabilities which, right now, can perhaps only be covered by (much more expensive) attack helicopters.
It must be borne in mind however, that such aircraft could be highly vulnerable to ground fire, even from light machine guns. An Apache can survive hits from 23mm cannon fire, but I would say a few lucky hits from an AK-47 could bring down a Tucano. However, the Tucano is twice as fast, which would make it harder to hit.
The cockpit is also armoured and, unlike Apaches, the crews have ejector seats. As for Apache survivabilty, if a hit seriously damages the tail rotor, the machine is toast ...
The Iraqis taught the US Army a lesson over Apachi vulnerability on one particular mission during the invasion. However, it is telling that although 30 of the 33 AH-64Ds deployed on this mission were badly shot up, all were able to fly home, with three scrapped asfterwards.
True, hitting the tail rotar is a disaster, but so is hitting the prop of a Tucano.
As for ejector seats, all well and good. But who would relish ejecting into the arms of the Taliban? True, you can't eject from a helicopter, but they can often be landed when damaged.
There is only one aircraft flying that can take any real damage, and that is the mighty A-10. I rather hope that the USAF doesn't leave any of those behind for the Afghans. Well, ok, 10 maybe!
Interestingly, whilst investigating whether the USAF holds any stocks of OA-10 Broncos in rserve (which I thought would provide an ideal aircraft for the Afghans), I find that Boeing has proposed introducing an updated version of this old airframe to offer the USAF for use in Afghanistan.
Here is the link for those interested:http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/20 ... -year.html