Monday, September 19, 2016

Air Force Mulls Flight Demo for Possible Light Attack Aircraft Buy

The Air Force is considering a near-term buy of light attack aircraft to help relieve mounting operations costs, ameliorate a fighter pilot shortage and improve readiness, a top general told Defense News in an exclusive interview.

Lt. Gen. James M. "Mike" Holmes, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, is floating a number of options to Air Force leaders, including a potential flight demonstration of inexpensive, off-the-shelf tactical airplanes that could occur as early as spring 2017.

Holmes stressed that a new light attack craft, which has been termed OA-X, would not replace the A-10 Warthog fleet. Instead, it would be a supplement to the Warthog that would give combatant commanders a low-cost option for battling the violent extremist groups in light of the high operations and maintenance costs associated with the A-10 and various fighter jets currently doing that job.