HomeNewsArticle Display

Second phase of Light Attack Experiment underway

A Beechcraft AT-6 experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. July 31, 2017. The AT-6 is participating in the U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), a series of trials to determine the feasibility of using light aircraft in attack roles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan D. Wagner)

A Beechcraft AT-6B Wolverine experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. July 31, 2017. The AT-6 is participating in the U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), a series of trials to determine the feasibility of using light aircraft in attack roles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan D. Wagner)

An Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano A-29 experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., August 1, 2017. The A-29 is participating in the U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), a series of trials to determine the feasibility of using light aircraft in attack roles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan D. Wagner)

An Embraer EMB 314 A-29 Super Tocano experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., August 1, 2017. The A-29 is participating in the U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), a series of trials to determine the feasibility of using light aircraft in attack roles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan D. Wagner)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Flying began May 7, 2018, for the Air Force’s second phase of the Light Attack Experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Pilots are flying the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine during a three-month, live-fly experiment to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, as well as partner nation interoperability, prior to a potential light attack purchase.

“This second phase of experimentation is about informing the rapid procurement process as we move closer to investing in light attack,” said Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. “If we can get light attack aircraft operating in permissive combat environments, we can alleviate the demand on our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, so they can be training for the high-end fight they were made for.”

The Air Force is also assessing interoperability and networking capabilities, to one day carry out light attack operations side-by-side with coalition partners. According to the 2018 Air Force Posture Statement, “Retaining irregular warfare as a core competency at a lower cost, and strengthening our alliances are key elements of our National Defense Strategy.”

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We're looking at light attack through the lens of allies and partners. A big part of the Light Attack Experiment is a common architecture and an intelligence-sharing network, so that those who would join us would be part of the campaign against violent extremism.”

During this phase of experimentation, aircrew include fighter, attack, or special operations pilots, plus test pilots and flight engineers from the Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. Collectively, they average more than 1,000 flight hours and more than 100 combat missions, and all pilots have been instructors in one or more aircraft.

Flight scenarios will consist of 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, to inform sustainment and product support requirements.

The experiment is part of a broader Air Force effort 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.

The first phase of the Light Attack Experiment took place in August 2017 at Holloman AFB, with four models of light attack aircraft.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@NellisAFB fixed wing aircrews are flight-testing new prototype helmets this summer, thanks in part to an accelera… https://t.co/4HSUGSk3Qg
The 2019 @warriorgames Opening Ceremony is set for 6/22 @AmalieArena w/@HunterHayes! Stay up to date with your… https://t.co/u34QuBnpdo
.@AETCommand's latest #podcast series dives into "Developing Mach-21 #Airmen," providing visibility on recruiting,… https://t.co/CGSHJonQAT
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks to the support of Congress, the @usairforce is developing game changing technology. #fasterandsmarter https://t.co/…
#DYK, Flight equipment has historically been designed to fit males because there are statistically more male… https://t.co/iJnSp1pV74
.@AirForceReserve #Airmen rescues an 8yr old boy from flood waters, in Prague, Oklahoma. #USAFhttps://t.co/Y4efafIkO6
#DYK, Individuals w/ disabilities comprise a large part of the #USAF civilian force. As part of the American Disabi… https://t.co/LOP14Xhg4j
Two of #AirForce's newest aircraft complete receiver certification, moving one step closer to enhancing #warfigtherhttps://t.co/F6pvB6PEac
.@HQAirUniversity's Squadron Officer School students collaborate to explore ways #AI can solve #AirForce issues and… https://t.co/QBCFwaGUdh
Vandenberg #AirForce Base is set to support the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch, carrying the RADARSAT Constellation… https://t.co/PohIOze3HC
#ICYMI, #USAF was on full display at the #Indy500. @USAFRecruiting teamed up w/@ConorDaly22 for this #NASCAR event.… https://t.co/uOfqBBDWNd
.@DHADirector visited @TeamTyndall, to talk to medical members about the changes the @DoD_DHA will be making throug… https://t.co/EOgEqmqHFt
Members from #USAF major commands attend the Manpower and Equipment Force Packaging Summit at #JBLE, viewing new ca… https://t.co/rEVhvjmxyy
With agile "BOLT" #Airmen supporting the F35A, there is less down time, more productivity and a smaller maintenanc… https://t.co/qu09dyhQzt
RT @DeptofDefense: Service members come from many diverse backgrounds, and each has a story and a reason for why they serve. @USAirForce Ch…
.@RAFMildenhall's electrical and environmental experts known as "E and E" #Airmen are the backbone of forward-basin… https://t.co/8va6xbFkGk
A four-person #USAF #helicopter crew w/@341MissileWing rescued a man June 3 near Monarch, #Montana. This event mark… https://t.co/MBHe5AcwOJ