An Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has crashed near Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico, killing a US Navy pilot.

The A-29 aircraft crashed while conducting a training flight as part of the US Air Force’s (USAF) Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), which commenced its three-month, live-fly second phase on 7 May.

The late US Navy lieutenant Christopher Carey Short, from Canandaigua, New York, was one of the two crew members on board the light attack aircraft.

Holloman AFB 49th Wing commander colonel Houston Cantwell said: “There’s no way to describe the shock of this loss and the sadness we feel for his family.

“USAF’s OA-X programme has been designed to explore cost-effective light attack aircraft platform options.”

“He did pioneering work in aviation that will help shape American air power for years to come. We’re thankful to have known him and grateful for his devotion to duty.”

The crash occurred over the Red Rio Bombing Range, which is a part of White Sands Missile Range in the north of the Holloman AFB.

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The second crew member on board the flight is reported to have suffered minor injuries and has been airlifted to a local hospital.

No cause for the crash has been determined but an investigation is being carried out.

White Sands Missile Range is a US Army installation and the US Department of Defense’s largest open-air test range.

USAF’s OA-X programme has been designed to explore cost-effective light attack aircraft platform options.

The second phase of the experiment was started to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, in addition to partner nation interoperability, before carrying out a potential light attack purchase.