The US Air Force (USAF) is set to launch its second phase of light-attack experimentation with two non-developmental aircraft from May to July this year.
The experiment will be conducted with the USAF’s the Textron Aviation AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada / Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, US.
The first phase of the light-attack experiment was carried out in August last year by five international partners.
USAF secretary Heather Wilson said: “Rather than do a combat demonstration, we have decided to work closely with industry to experiment with maintenance, data networking, and sensors with the two most promising light-attack aircraft – the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano.
“This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement.”
During the second phase, the airforce will assess logistics and maintenance requirements, weapons and sensor issues, training syllabus validity, networking, and future interoperability with partner forces.
The USAF will also carry out the experiment by rapidly building and operating an exportable, affordable network that would allow aircraft to communicate with joint and multi-national forces, as well as command-and-control nodes.
USAF chief of staff general David Goldfein said: “This effort to find a lower-cost and exportable aircraft for permissive environments is directly in line with the National Defense Strategy.
“A light-attack aircraft would not only provide relief to our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, but also bolster our interoperability, so we can more effectively employ airpower as an international team.”
The light-attack aircraft will enable the USAF to counter violent extremism on a global scale.
The two phases of experimentation will provide necessary data required by the airforce to potentially acquire light attack aircraft in a future competition, without carrying out any combat demonstration.