The US Air Force (USAF) has commenced the second phase of the Light Attack Experiment at its Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico, US.

The three-month, live-fly experiment will see the USAF pilots fly the Sierra Nevada / Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine aircraft.

Additional information about aircraft capabilities, along with partner nation interoperability, will be collected during flights before carrying out a potential acquisition of the light attack jets.

The second phase of the Light Attack Experiment involves aircrew, which includes fighter, attack or special operations pilots, as well as test pilots and flight engineers from the USAF, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

The experimentation will include flight scenarios that will comprise both day and night missions in air interdiction, close air support, armed overwatch, and combat search-and-rescue.

Maintenance observers will focus on flightline and in-shop maintenance in order to inform sustainment and product support requirements.

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“This second phase of experimentation is about informing the rapid procurement process as we move closer to investing in light attack.”

USAF Acquisition Office of the Assistant Secretary military deputy lieutenant general Arnie Bunch said: “This second phase of experimentation is about informing the rapid procurement process as we move closer to investing in light attack.

“If we can get light attack aircraft operating in permissive combat environments, we can alleviate the demand on our fourth and fifth generation aircraft, so they can be training for the high-end fight they were made for.”

The Phase II experiment is part of a larger USAF programme to explore cost-effective attack platform options under the Light Attack Experimentation Campaign led by the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, US.

In August, the USAF conducted the Phase I of the Light Attack Experiment at the Holloman AFB using four light attack aircraft models.