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trpmb6
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News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:26 pm

A U.S. Navy pilot participating in the ongoing Light Attack Experiment died Friday, June 22, 2018 when the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft he was flying crashed inside the Red Rio Bombing Range inside the White Sands Missile Range.

A second crew member successfully ejected and has sustained minor injuries.

No word on cause of the accident.

The Aviationist wrote:
The USAF’s controlled commercially-owned A-29 was about to demonstrate its capabilities as part of the second phase of the Light Attack Experiment on Jun. 22, when it crashed.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:23 pm

RIP, testing and flying aircraft is still dangerous.

On a related note, that can't be good for the evaluation points for the Embraer A-29. Does this mean more chances for the AT-6?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
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Moose135
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:04 pm

Dutchy wrote:
On a related note, that can't be good for the evaluation points for the Embraer A-29. Does this mean more chances for the AT-6?

I think until they know the cause of the crash, it will be hard to determine what effect, if any, it has on the evaluation of the aircraft.
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Dutchy
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:11 pm

Moose135 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
On a related note, that can't be good for the evaluation points for the Embraer A-29. Does this mean more chances for the AT-6?

I think until they know the cause of the crash, it will be hard to determine what effect, if any, it has on the evaluation of the aircraft.


I understand, but on a subconscious level, it can't help.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:41 pm

Dutchy wrote:
RIP, testing and flying aircraft is still dangerous.

On a related note, that can't be good for the evaluation points for the Embraer A-29. Does this mean more chances for the AT-6?

Same engine in both so it if is propoulsion related it shouldn't dent any chances.
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:46 am

About 250 A-29s have been delivered to 18 operators. Many of them are heavily employed, in remote regions ander unfavorable climate. The competitor is still a concept without customers.

A little bit of calm before jumping to hasty conclusions would be great.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:16 am

As a result of the crash it looks like the Light Attack experiment may be rolled up as long as they have enough data to draw conclusions.

USAF suspends light attack experiment and looks to end contest early

The US Air Force suspended its light attack experiment at Hollomon AFB in New Mexico after the fatal crash of a Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano on June 22.

The USAF is examining the data collected thus far in the about a month-long second phase of the experiment to determine if it has enough information to end the contest early.

“The experiment team is currently reviewing the data collected from the current phase of experimentation, as well as last year's experiment activities, to determine the way ahead,” said the USAF. “The forecast for return to flight operations for the experiment is still to be determined.”

The USAF’s light attack experiment team is providing support to the Safety Investigation Board in its investigation of the A-29 Super Tucano’s crash. However, the service decline to share additional details on suspected cause of the crash.

One pilot was killed and another had minor injuries after both ejected from the aircraft about 56nm (105km) north of Holloman AFB at the Red Rio Bombing Range.

The crash came about five weeks after the USAF started the second phase of the light attack experiment on 17 May. Phase two was to examine sustainment requirements, networking with allies’ platforms and flying costs of the A-29 Super Tucano and Textron Aviation's Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine.

The first phase of the contest was held in July 2017 and included Textron Aviation’s Scorpion jet, though that aircraft was rejected by the service for further consideration in phase 2.

The USAF plans to use data gathered from the experiment phases to decide whether to buy hundreds of light attack aircraft. The hope is these fighters could be cheaper alternatives to using aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing F-15 or Fairchild Republic A-10 for surveillance and ground attack missions.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -e-449818/
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:36 am

I wonder if the USAF has second thoughts.

Of course the cost benefits of Tucano & AT6 are evident.

But the safety of aircrew involved can't be compromized too much.

And a shoot-down / captured pilot is all over the internet in minutes.

E.g. speed & a second engine make a difference.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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seahawk
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:39 am

For a service that will soon by flying mostly single engine fighters?
 
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Aesma
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:21 pm

In what circumstances would that aircraft be used ? Does the US plan a new invasion of Vietnam ?
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:46 pm

seahawk wrote:
For a service that will soon by flying mostly single engine fighters?


At different heights and speeds.

Image

If the enemy starts to shoot back, the slow, low ones go down. Even in Vietnam 50 yrs ago that became clear.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War#USAF_fixed-wing

Maybe a T-X platform can become a relatively cheap compromise.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
mmo
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:20 pm

keesje wrote:
I wonder if the USAF has second thoughts.

Of course the cost benefits of Tucano & AT6 are evident.

But the safety of aircrew involved can't be compromized too much.

And a shoot-down / captured pilot is all over the internet in minutes.

E.g. speed & a second engine make a difference.



The OA-X concept is not designed or planned for high threat areas. They are envisioned as counter-air for areas where there are "feet on the ground" in order to supplement the needs of the ground forces. Right now, the A-10 is covering that role, as well as other "fast jets". However, there is a need for an A-10 replacement and the current thought would be to supplement the existing force with an OA-X type aircraft. The F-35 was planned to assume all A-G roles, but given the high price tag and operating costs a simpler platform was envisioned.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:03 pm

Since the 1970s there has been little improvement in the performance of high-cadence cannons. On the other hand, there has been great progress in terms of accuracy and range in air-to-ground weaponry. This favors solutions like the A-29.

You should keep in mind that attack helicopters were viewed as a solution by the military greatly because of restrictions on operation operation of fixed wing aircraft. In practice, these attack helicopters are much less effective due to the lower speed and autonomy. They are also much more risky for their crews because of the lower mechanical reliability and absence of the ejection system.
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:47 pm

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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seahawk
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:19 am

keesje wrote:
seahawk wrote:
For a service that will soon by flying mostly single engine fighters?


At different heights and speeds.

Image

If the enemy starts to shoot back, the slow, low ones go down. Even in Vietnam 50 yrs ago that became clear.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War#USAF_fixed-wing

Maybe a T-X platform can become a relatively cheap compromise.


As the turboprop can use LGBs and guided rockets just like the jet, it does not need to fly low and would probably operate at 15.000+ft anyway. (A-29 is rated for up to 35.000ft) Sure it is a bit slower than a jet but the heat signature is probably also a bit lower. In exchange for that it burns less fuel and has a longer loiter time.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:11 am

Nean1 wrote:
You should keep in mind that attack helicopters were viewed as a solution by the military greatly because of restrictions on operation operation of fixed wing aircraft. In practice, these attack helicopters are much less effective due to the lower speed and autonomy. They are also much more risky for their crews because of the lower mechanical reliability and absence of the ejection system.

Attack helicopters were invented to escort transportation helicopters, and providing fire support to the helicopter-borne soldiers operating from the transport helicopters.

Helicopters also have the advantage of being able to hug the terrain very tightly; they can hide behind crests and tree lines and pop up, fire at targets, and duck back down before the enemy can respond.

They also have persistence to stay in the battle space and attack targets very close to friendlies.
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:55 am

ThePointblank wrote:
Nean1 wrote:
You should keep in mind that attack helicopters were viewed as a solution by the military greatly because of restrictions on operation operation of fixed wing aircraft. In practice, these attack helicopters are much less effective due to the lower speed and autonomy. They are also much more risky for their crews because of the lower mechanical reliability and absence of the ejection system.

Attack helicopters were invented to escort transportation helicopters, and providing fire support to the helicopter-borne soldiers operating from the transport helicopters.

Helicopters also have the advantage of being able to hug the terrain very tightly; they can hide behind crests and tree lines and pop up, fire at targets, and duck back down before the enemy can respond.

They also have persistence to stay in the battle space and attack targets very close to friendlies.


ThePointblank,

The question arises that historically helicopters were employed in Afghanistan for COIN actions. Let's look at a comparison between the Tiger Attack helicopter and the Super Tucano:

                                                      Tiger A-29

Unit Cost (US Millions) 27-36 9-18
Endurance (in hours) 3.5 8.5
Maximum Speed (km / h) 315 590
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:29 am

Nean1 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Nean1 wrote:
You should keep in mind that attack helicopters were viewed as a solution by the military greatly because of restrictions on operation operation of fixed wing aircraft. In practice, these attack helicopters are much less effective due to the lower speed and autonomy. They are also much more risky for their crews because of the lower mechanical reliability and absence of the ejection system.

Attack helicopters were invented to escort transportation helicopters, and providing fire support to the helicopter-borne soldiers operating from the transport helicopters.

Helicopters also have the advantage of being able to hug the terrain very tightly; they can hide behind crests and tree lines and pop up, fire at targets, and duck back down before the enemy can respond.

They also have persistence to stay in the battle space and attack targets very close to friendlies.


ThePointblank,

The question arises that historically helicopters were employed in Afghanistan for COIN actions. Let's look at a comparison between the Tiger Attack helicopter and the Super Tucano:

                                                      Tiger A-29

Unit Cost (US Millions) 27-36 9-18
Endurance (in hours) 3.5 8.5
Maximum Speed (km / h) 315 590

The French must be given credit for the first truly armed helicopter. According to French Army Major j. Pouget, in the early and mid-1950's, they used US H-21 helicopters, armed with SS-10 missiles, fixed machine guns and free firing machine guns against the Algerians in their conflict.

In the US, the first attack helicopter was invented for the Vietnam war, when they started arming UH-1's with rockets and machine guns. Their job was to escort transport UH-1's for the air mobility mission, and provide fire support to suppress ground fire when landing.

When it was realized that arming UH-1's wasn't ideal because the extra weight and drag slowed down the armed helicopters, they developed a purpose built helicopter for the role; the AH-1 Cobra. And once it was realized that the existing weapons weren't ideal against enemy AFV's, the decision was made to arm attack helicopters with anti-tank missiles.

From then on, the primary missions for US Army attack helicopters has been:
1. The destruction of enemy armour and mechanized forces;
2. The destruction of enemy air defence assets;
3. Supporting friendly maneuver forces with fire support;
4. Coordinate fire support from indirect assets (artillery, tactical air), as required;
5. Provide aerial escort to support aerial assault missions;
6. Destruction of enemy helicopters that pose an immediate threat to the mission;
7. Destruction of enemy logistics and communication lines
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:16 am

ThePointblank wrote:
Nean1 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Attack helicopters were invented to escort transportation helicopters, and providing fire support to the helicopter-borne soldiers operating from the transport helicopters.

Helicopters also have the advantage of being able to hug the terrain very tightly; they can hide behind crests and tree lines and pop up, fire at targets, and duck back down before the enemy can respond.

They also have persistence to stay in the battle space and attack targets very close to friendlies.


ThePointblank,

The question arises that historically helicopters were employed in Afghanistan for COIN actions. Let's look at a comparison between the Tiger Attack helicopter and the Super Tucano:

                                                      Tiger A-29

Unit Cost (US Millions) 27-36 9-18
Endurance (in hours) 3.5 8.5
Maximum Speed (km / h) 315 590

The French must be given credit for the first truly armed helicopter. According to French Army Major j. Pouget, in the early and mid-1950's, they used US H-21 helicopters, armed with SS-10 missiles, fixed machine guns and free firing machine guns against the Algerians in their conflict.

In the US, the first attack helicopter was invented for the Vietnam war, when they started arming UH-1's with rockets and machine guns. Their job was to escort transport UH-1's for the air mobility mission, and provide fire support to suppress ground fire when landing.

When it was realized that arming UH-1's wasn't ideal because the extra weight and drag slowed down the armed helicopters, they developed a purpose built helicopter for the role; the AH-1 Cobra. And once it was realized that the existing weapons weren't ideal against enemy AFV's, the decision was made to arm attack helicopters with anti-tank missiles.

From then on, the primary missions for US Army attack helicopters has been:
1. The destruction of enemy armour and mechanized forces;
2. The destruction of enemy air defence assets;
3. Supporting friendly maneuver forces with fire support;
4. Coordinate fire support from indirect assets (artillery, tactical air), as required;
5. Provide aerial escort to support aerial assault missions;
6. Destruction of enemy helicopters that pose an immediate threat to the mission;
7. Destruction of enemy logistics and communication lines



ThePointblank,

I invite you to imagine how the 7 activities listed by you would be executed if the Army could freely choose and operate the armament to be employed without any impediment to choose and operate fixed wing aircraft.

Poor countries without aerospace industry have realized early the advantages of aircraft such as the A-29. They were not stuck with grandiose projects.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:46 am

Nean1 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Nean1 wrote:

ThePointblank,

The question arises that historically helicopters were employed in Afghanistan for COIN actions. Let's look at a comparison between the Tiger Attack helicopter and the Super Tucano:

                                                      Tiger A-29

Unit Cost (US Millions) 27-36 9-18
Endurance (in hours) 3.5 8.5
Maximum Speed (km / h) 315 590

The French must be given credit for the first truly armed helicopter. According to French Army Major j. Pouget, in the early and mid-1950's, they used US H-21 helicopters, armed with SS-10 missiles, fixed machine guns and free firing machine guns against the Algerians in their conflict.

In the US, the first attack helicopter was invented for the Vietnam war, when they started arming UH-1's with rockets and machine guns. Their job was to escort transport UH-1's for the air mobility mission, and provide fire support to suppress ground fire when landing.

When it was realized that arming UH-1's wasn't ideal because the extra weight and drag slowed down the armed helicopters, they developed a purpose built helicopter for the role; the AH-1 Cobra. And once it was realized that the existing weapons weren't ideal against enemy AFV's, the decision was made to arm attack helicopters with anti-tank missiles.

From then on, the primary missions for US Army attack helicopters has been:
1. The destruction of enemy armour and mechanized forces;
2. The destruction of enemy air defence assets;
3. Supporting friendly maneuver forces with fire support;
4. Coordinate fire support from indirect assets (artillery, tactical air), as required;
5. Provide aerial escort to support aerial assault missions;
6. Destruction of enemy helicopters that pose an immediate threat to the mission;
7. Destruction of enemy logistics and communication lines



ThePointblank,

I invite you to imagine how the 7 activities listed by you would be executed if the Army could freely choose and operate the armament to be employed without any impediment to choose and operate fixed wing aircraft.

Poor countries without aerospace industry have realized early the advantages of aircraft such as the A-29. They were not stuck with grandiose projects.

Easy; it would look a lot like the USMC, which has organic tactical air and rotary wing assets under a single command structure.

Aircraft like the A-29 won't fit in; the USMC has not shown interest in this type of aircraft, nor do they want it.
 
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seahawk
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:23 am

Actually the USMC has a RFI out for a light attack plane: https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/y ... the-corps/
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:55 am

seahawk wrote:
Actually the USMC has a RFI out for a light attack plane: https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/y ... the-corps/

From reading about the USMC's plans, they don't intend on deploying the aircraft on combat missions; they want to use it as a training platform to train forward air controllers and tactical controllers within the US. See the 2017 USMC Aviation Plan:

https://www.aviation.marines.mil/Portal ... 20PLAN.pdf

Page 180 if you want to go directly to the slide.

MARINE COMPOSITE TRAINING SQUADRON CONCEPT
USMC fixed wing adversary and fleet Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)) training requirements will persist, and likely grow. Headquarters Marine Corps Aviation is examining alternatives and solutions for these high demand/low density adversary and CAS training platforms.

The Marine Corps composite training squadron concept could address those needs. This squadron, likely in 4th MAW, would provide low cost, regionally distributed adversary and light attack-capable fixed-wing airframes to support fleet aviation and TACP/FAC(A) production, while improving readiness across the MAGTF.

Compositing two different aircraft regionally will support crucial local training requirements:

1) The F-5 (or similar aircraft) will support fixed-wing adversary support for fixed-and rotary-wing squadrons, as well as for LAAD and command and control training.
2) The turboprop aircraft and/or unmanned platform will augment close air support training for TACP and FAC(A)

SQUADRON COMPOSITION AND SUSTAINMENT


The USMC F-5 current fleet has a service life plan that extends the current platforms to 2025 (see F-5 Plan). Research is ongoing to examine low-cost turbo propeller aircraft alternatives to employ alongside the F-5. Marine aviation is examining options to purchase and/or lease contractor-owned and -maintained airframes that could be operated by USMC aviators from the composite training squadron and local flying units.

CAPACITY AND ACCESIBILITY
Current USMC inventory is 12 F -5s assigned to VMFT-401 at MCAS Yuma that execute detachments to away sites for training support. Marine aviation is researching the requisite manning and logistics to expand adversary and TACP/FAC(A) capacity and capability while improving accessibility by possibly placing permanent resources at MCAS Beaufort, MCAS Cherry Point, and MCAS Miramar.

CAPABILITY
The current configuration and future upgrades to the F-5 do not meet all MAGTF requirements for F-35 and F/A-18, but these aircraft can effectively service many fixed wing, rotary wing DACM, GBAD, and C2 training needs (see F-5 Plan). Additionally, an ordnance-employing light attack turbo prop airframe with variable communication and sensor suites would help support all air and ground terminal attack control training requirements.


FUTURE

Procurement of additional F-5s with significant service life remaining along with leasing or procuring a light ordnance capable turbo prop could allow the USMC to meet, with a combination of organic assets and contracted solutions, most of the requirements for adversary training and appropriately augment close air support for TACP and FAC(A) training.
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:16 pm

ThePointblank,

As you well know, the USMC's requirements are different from the Army, especially due to the need for onboard operations. This logically gives an advantage to rotating wing solutions, which lose much less performance when compared to fixed wing aircraft.

But even the USMC is carefully scrutinizing options similar to A-29 concept for the advantages it exhibits. They are an expeditionary force with a strong focus on practical ideas and may want to test something functional and low risk.

Maybe you should focus more on facts and data and review some preconceived ideas.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:14 pm

Nean1 wrote:
ThePointblank,

As you well know, the USMC's requirements are different from the Army, especially due to the need for onboard operations. This logically gives an advantage to rotating wing solutions, which lose much less performance when compared to fixed wing aircraft.

But even the USMC is carefully scrutinizing options similar to A-29 concept for the advantages it exhibits. They are an expeditionary force with a strong focus on practical ideas and may want to test something functional and low risk.

Maybe you should focus more on facts and data and review some preconceived ideas.

The USMC doesn't see a need for this type of aircraft, except in a training role. See the 2017 Marine Corps Aviation Plan for what exactly the Marines are saying they want. And the Marines are specialists in counterinsurgency and whose operations aren't governed by agreements that keep fixed wing aircraft away from their operations. Notice how the Marines don't want this type of aircraft anywhere near the two-way firing range, and instead want it as a training aircraft.

Also, notice how no other Western military is interested in this type of aircraft...

Sending large numbers of slow, limited, propeller-driven aircraft into battle is at best a false economy, and at worst potentially disastrous; look at the heavy casualties among light attack squadrons during the conflict in Vietnam, where the anti-air threat was more limited.

The whole argument of buying OA-X is predicated on the idea you have these big operating theatres where there will never be a threat to air power, which cannot be relied upon, and the economic alternative is that pilot lives aren’t worth much, so put them in cheaper planes that are easily shot down. For Western militaries that are casualty adverse, this makes no sense whatsoever.
 
WKTaylor
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:31 pm

Here is the actual loss report for the SEA conflict.

AFFDL-TR-77-115 [declass] A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF USAF FIXED-WING AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA COMBAT

The A-37B had the best combat hit-to-loss ratio of ~+12-hit to 1-loss

The old 100-series jets had the poorest hit-to-loss ratio of ~3-to-4-hit to 1-loss
 
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smithbs
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:37 pm

The debate with light attack aircraft continues on, but I think the major services are not seeing it as viable - especially with the long move to multi-role aircraft. It doesn't leave much room for specialist aircraft like this.

As mentioned above, the most obvious trouble comes when the theater goes from light combat (some guys with AKs) to something more. Angola in the 1980s showed what happens when MANPADs arrive in quantity - A/C have to go either low or high. If you go low like the SAAF did, you are confined to very narrow attack profiles that depend on a faster performance aircraft with a good nav/attack computer and going after pre-planned targets. The Mirage F1 was barely capable of this. Re-targeting or loitering during these profiles can't be done, and so CAS goes out the window. If you go high, then you need a performance aircraft that can haul a load up high. CAS becomes possible with precision munitions and good optics. In both cases, you've had to exchange your cheap turbo-props for something like F-16s or F-15Es.

Likewise, if a conflict erupts with a major state with a competent military, those cheap attack aircraft will have to stay parked on another continent. Or, like Iraq in 2003, they will have to stay parked during the height of regular combat and could only come out once the heavy lifting is done. So the cheap aircraft provide nothing to your initial "break-in" combat, nor against "state vs state" conflict, but those are the phases when you need everything to be in the air. Funding a whole fleet that can't contribute in this scenario is, in the end, very expensive.
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:35 pm

smithbs wrote:
The debate with light attack aircraft continues on, but I think the major services are not seeing it as viable - especially with the long move to multi-role aircraft. It doesn't leave much room for specialist aircraft like this.

As mentioned above, the most obvious trouble comes when the theater goes from light combat (some guys with AKs) to something more. Angola in the 1980s showed what happens when MANPADs arrive in quantity - A/C have to go either low or high. If you go low like the SAAF did, you are confined to very narrow attack profiles that depend on a faster performance aircraft with a good nav/attack computer and going after pre-planned targets. The Mirage F1 was barely capable of this. Re-targeting or loitering during these profiles can't be done, and so CAS goes out the window. If you go high, then you need a performance aircraft that can haul a load up high. CAS becomes possible with precision munitions and good optics. In both cases, you've had to exchange your cheap turbo-props for something like F-16s or F-15Es.

Likewise, if a conflict erupts with a major state with a competent military, those cheap attack aircraft will have to stay parked on another continent. Or, like Iraq in 2003, they will have to stay parked during the height of regular combat and could only come out once the heavy lifting is done. So the cheap aircraft provide nothing to your initial "break-in" combat, nor against "state vs state" conflict, but those are the phases when you need everything to be in the air. Funding a whole fleet that can't contribute in this scenario is, in the end, very expensive.


smithbs,

Its logic does not apply to many conflicts in which the US has been directly or indirectly involved in the past 20 years. The advances in terms of sensors and air weapons change this logic that you described for the case of Angola.

With all due respect there are several aircraft totally inadequate for low intensity / COIN conflicts such as the A-10 and F-16. In practice you are spending a lot of resources for little result.

Solutions like the A-29 allow you to team allies spending little and giving them the effective means of defense, not just airplanes to participate in aerial parades. And better, with crew and local maintenance personnel, rather than risking your own servicemen.

It is often better to have a simple screwdriver than a complex multipurpose Swiss knife. The concept of multirole aircraft sometimes goes beyond common sense.
 
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smithbs
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:54 am

Nean1,

I think Angola and Afghanistan are excellent cases to look at. For very little cost, an out-of-region actor put a bunch of MANPADs into the hands of insurgents and caused massive problems for the local air force. It's almost too easy to do. MANPADs have been present in Iraq, Syria and Libya but not in large numbers...but it wouldn't be hard to do if someone really wanted to. And if/when it does happen, what then? You go to your President and tell him you have to park half the air force? "You're fired."

If you are in a geopolitical vacuum where no one else cares what is happening and the insurgents have nothing at 12.7 mm or above, then a cheap light attack aircraft is fine but I'd argue that helicopter gunships would be better.

A cheap light attack aircraft based on a turboprop would be easy to design - dozens of nations have that kind of technology (fewer have the engine technology but those could be acquired). But we don't see much of a market for it and few builders for it. I think the global market is saying something about this class of aircraft.

Don't get me wrong - the concept of an armed-up PC-7 or Super Tucano appears to make sense. But I have to admit that if I was running a procurement budget that I was responsible for, I'd have to say "cool idea, but the F-16D gives me more options."
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:57 am

smithbs wrote:
Nean1,

I think Angola and Afghanistan are excellent cases to look at. For very little cost, an out-of-region actor put a bunch of MANPADs into the hands of insurgents and caused massive problems for the local air force. It's almost too easy to do. MANPADs have been present in Iraq, Syria and Libya but not in large numbers...but it wouldn't be hard to do if someone really wanted to. And if/when it does happen, what then? You go to your President and tell him you have to park half the air force? "You're fired."

If you are in a geopolitical vacuum where no one else cares what is happening and the insurgents have nothing at 12.7 mm or above, then a cheap light attack aircraft is fine but I'd argue that helicopter gunships would be better.

A cheap light attack aircraft based on a turboprop would be easy to design - dozens of nations have that kind of technology (fewer have the engine technology but those could be acquired). But we don't see much of a market for it and few builders for it. I think the global market is saying something about this class of aircraft.

Don't get me wrong - the concept of an armed-up PC-7 or Super Tucano appears to make sense. But I have to admit that if I was running a procurement budget that I was responsible for, I'd have to say "cool idea, but the F-16D gives me more options."


This is basically it. The situations where a light attack aircraft makes sense is fairly limited to a very low threat environment, and with the proliferation of man-portable anti-air weapons, it turns much of the low altitude range out of bounds because of the high risk.

Also, consider the manning issues; the USAF is experiencing a pilot shortage. The Air Force is currently short over 1,200 fighter pilots and doesn’t need any additional requirements which don’t relieve pressure elsewhere. Manning 100+ OA-X means over 100 pilots taken away from existing assets which are already highly stressed.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:10 pm

Looks like the USAF is going ahead with the Light Attack Aircraft. I personally think it is a waste of funding given the pilot shortage and what this will do to likely increase that.

U.S. Air Force Releases Pre-Solicitation Notice to Acquire Light Attack Aircraft

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has released a pre-solicitation notice of proposed contract action to acquire new light attack aircraft.
“The Commander Directed Projects Division (AFLCMC/OZJ) intends to solicit proposals from limited sources and award contract(s) for the production of Light Attack Aircraft (LAA)”, said the pre-solicitation notice.
According to the notice, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Textron Aviation are the only firms that possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force’s time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs. The formal solicitation will be released in December of 2018 and a contract will be awarded in 4th quarter of FY19.
The new light attack aircraft will provide an affordable, non-developmental aircraft intended to operate globally in the types of Irregular Warfare environments that have characterized combat operations over the past 25 years.
The potential contenders for the program,  the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine light attack aircraft had been participating in the second phase of USAF’s Light Attack Experiment (OA-X) program at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico from May 7.
The live-fly experiment, initially scheduled for three months, was suspended prematurely after the fatal crash of a Super Tucano on 22 June. The USAF said that the crash would not harm Sierra Nevada’s chances of winning the competition..
The second phase of the Light Attack Experiment was planned to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, as well as partner nation interoperability, prior to a potential light attack purchase. The first phase of the experiment took place in August 2017 at Holloman AFB, with four models of light attack aircraft which also included L3/AirTractor AT-802L Longsword and Textron AirLand Scorpion.

https://defpost.com/us-air-force-releas ... -aircraft/
 
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:09 pm

Some more information about the Light Attack Experiment. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... -networks/

In this article it sounds like they are trying to justify why they are going through this. In summary, the USAF wants a cost effective, close air support light attack aircraft. But it wants to do so with the understanding that we will also be boosting the capabilities of our partner nations across the world. They want to improve their ability to share information.

It sounds like, to me, that Goldfein wants to push the OEMs in this final phase towards specific avionics that will help with coordination and intelligence sharing on the battlefield with partner nations.

This also has the dual purpose of hinting to the OEMS (Textron & SNC/Embraer) that even if the USAF ultimately does not purchase as many as they would have liked, there is going to be a lot of partners out there who may also be interested.

Here is a slightly more negative article criticizing the OA-X (at least from my view point). Some of the points are fair to point out, I'll admit.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... raft-30782

Notice that one of the final points talks about how this will improve operations with partner nations. It seems the first article I linked may be a veiled response to this second article.
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:08 am

In recent years special operation fitted old NASA Bronco's with glass cockpit, advanced sensors (e.g. tracking cell phones), laser guided precision weapons.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/17162/document-offers-new-details-about-those-ov-10-broncos-that-went-to-fight-isis

A fast twin engined prop apparently still charms the people on the front line. Recently talked to a F15E driver who explicitly promoted his preference for 2 engines above that area.

Image
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Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:22 pm

The OA-X RFP has been delayed until 2019. Given the budget uncertainty going around at the moment I can see a number of reasons for the delay while the near term future for OA-X seems bleak.

Start of US Air Force’s light-attack plane competition pushed back until next year

If the U.S. Air Force moves forward on a proposed initiative to buy light-attack planes, it won’t happen by the end of 2018.

The service intended to put out a final request for proposals this month for a potential light-attack aircraft program, but the date has now slipped into 2019, an Air Force official confirmed Tuesday.

“The Air Force does not anticipate release of the final Light Attack Request for Proposal by the end of the calendar year as we complete additional analysis,” Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Hope Cronin said in an emailed response to Defense News.

The service released a draft solicitation on Aug. 3, following two experimentation campaigns that brought the Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, Textron’s Scorpion jet and AT-6 attack plane, and L3’s AT-802L Longsword to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico for several rounds of test flights.

The second set of flight experiments between the A-29 and AT-6 were curtailed this summer after an A-29 crashed, killing its pilot. However, the Air Force maintained that it could garner the data it needed on aircraft maintenance and network operations while testing the planes on the ground.

Air Force acquisition officials have shied away from declaring whether a program of record will begin in the fiscal 2020 budget, but the August presolicitation seems to limit the contenders to the A-29 and AT-6, stating that SNC and Textron “are the only firms that appear to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force’s time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter.”

The goal of the light-attack experiments is to prove whether the Air Force can quickly bring industry to the table to experiment with off the shelf equipment and rapidly make a decision about whether to buy it.

In that light, the delay in releasing the final request for proposals is at least a slight setback, as it’s unclear whether the wait for a final RFP could also push back the Air Force’s proposed due date for awarding a contract — before the start of the 2020 fiscal year on Oct. 1.

But it remains unclear whether the Air Force will have the money to buy it. Officials have maintained that a light-attack capability is “additive," meaning that they would not be willing to sacrifice procurement dollars designated for aircraft in existing or planned programs of record so that it could buy the AT-6 or A-29.

However, the Pentagon’s top-line budget is still uncertain. Defense Department budget officials had geared up for a $733 billion budget in FY20, only to have President Donald Trump call for a cut to $700 billion. Now, it appears that number is growing after intervention from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and congressional hawks, and could be as high as $750 billion.

Whether the light-attack aircraft program fits into any of those top-line budgets is currently unknown.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/12 ... next-year/
 
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:26 pm

smithbs wrote:
Nean1,

I think Angola and Afghanistan are excellent cases to look at. For very little cost, an out-of-region actor put a bunch of MANPADs into the hands of insurgents and caused massive problems for the local air force.


The Soviets would disagree with that assessment. At the same time the Mujahiddin reported ~80% kills with stinger, the Pakistanis reported 0%.... the former stopped using them long before the Russians had left.

Best regards
Thomas
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rlwynn
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:04 am

keesje wrote:
In recent years special operation fitted old NASA Bronco's with glass cockpit, advanced sensors (e.g. tracking cell phones), laser guided precision weapons.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/17162/document-offers-new-details-about-those-ov-10-broncos-that-went-to-fight-isis

A fast twin engined prop apparently still charms the people on the front line. Recently talked to a F15E driver who explicitly promoted his preference for 2 engines above that area.


Thr Super Tucano Has more power, more payload, a cruise speed faster than the top speed of a Bronco and can fly 11,000 feet higher.
I can drive faster than you
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:04 pm

rlwynn wrote:
keesje wrote:
In recent years special operation fitted old NASA Bronco's with glass cockpit, advanced sensors (e.g. tracking cell phones), laser guided precision weapons.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/17162/document-offers-new-details-about-those-ov-10-broncos-that-went-to-fight-isis

A fast twin engined prop apparently still charms the people on the front line. Recently talked to a F15E driver who explicitly promoted his preference for 2 engines above that area.


Thr Super Tucano Has more power, more payload, a cruise speed faster than the top speed of a Bronco and can fly 11,000 feet higher.


Of course this is not about the Bronco but about operating twin engined platforms about those areas. The pilot I talked to didn't discuss efficiency but he did mention his Jordanian colleague.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:09 pm

In a clean sheet design I could imagine two engines are preferred, significantly seperated, independent, would be preferable. Probably turbofans over props for speed and low noise. And a free nose, for optimal visibility and forward looking sensors / weapons. Typing this I realized how the A10 looks.. :scared: , but thats a tank killer build around a huge gun. Still the configuation looks interesting for this requirement too, say half the MTOW of the A10; 25-30 k lbs / 11t.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:55 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
smithbs wrote:
Nean1,

I think Angola and Afghanistan are excellent cases to look at. For very little cost, an out-of-region actor put a bunch of MANPADs into the hands of insurgents and caused massive problems for the local air force.


The Soviets would disagree with that assessment. At the same time the Mujahiddin reported ~80% kills with stinger, the Pakistanis reported 0%.... the former stopped using them long before the Russians had left.

Best regards
Thomas


If you could throw in a source, I would be most appreciative. Even so, my point was not "MANPADs shot down a lot of aircraft" but "caused massive problems." Just the threat of MANPADs causes massive changes: flight plans, attack profiles, etc, usually causing the air force to lose effectiveness very quickly. In both theaters mentioned above, pilots refused to fly closer to the targets and refused to loiter in threat areas, which caused the quality of strikes to go down. It's the operational threat that matters.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:07 am

Another flip flop on the OA-X competiton. I'm not sure the USAF really knows what it wants from this competition and what they want from the capability. Perhaps this will lead to a rerun of the evaluation period with the eliminated aircraft in again, or is being used just to delay the acquisition until funding is available for an acquisition, or maybe the fighter mafia finally killed the competition.

US Air Force’s plan to launch light-attack aircraft competition is now deferred indefinitely

The start of a competition to provide light-attack aircraft for the U.S. Air Force has been postponed for the foreseeable future, as the service decides the way forward for additional experiments, the Air Force’s No. 2 civilian said Friday.

The Air Force started evaluating light-attack plane offerings in 2017 and was set to release a request for proposals in December 2018 to potentially lead to a program of record. But the service is not ready to commit to a program just yet, and wants to continue the experimentation phase, Under Secretary of the Air Force Matt Donovan told reporters after an Air Force Association event.

"We're going to broaden the scope a little bit,” he said, potentially alluding for the possibility of new aircraft types to enter the competition.

Asked if this meant the two aircraft positioned by the Air Force as potential contenders for a contract — the Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, and the Textron AT-6 Wolverine — were no longer in the running, Donovan responded: “We’re not excluding anything.”

The Air Force’s decision is a somewhat surprising one. The light-attack experiment began with four aircraft involved in flight tests at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico: the A-29 and AT-6, but also Textron’s Scorpion jet and L3’s AT-802L Longsword.

The AT-6 and A-29 moved onto the second phase of experiments in 2018, which were mostly centered around the planes’ maintainability and network capability.

When the Air Force put out a draft RFP later that year, the solicitation stated that Textron and the SNC-Embraer partnership were “the only firms that appear to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force’s time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter.”

If the Air Force is considering alternative aircraft, it’s unclear what requirements are driving that search or whether a new entrant has caught the service’s eye.

Some foreign companies, namely South Africa’s Paramount Group and Czech aerospace firm Aero Vodochody, have expressed interest in competing for U.S. light-attack aircraft contracts. And it’s possible the T-X trainer jet, for which the Air Force chose Boeing to build, could be modified for a light-attack role.

But for the last six months, Air Force acquisition officials have firmly suggested the A-29 or AT-6 would be the only options under consideration going forward.

In 2016, Gen. Mike Holmes, then the Headquarters U.S. Air Force’s top requirements official and now the head of Air Combat Command, spoke with Defense News about the prospect of dedicating funds to flight test a range of off-the-shelf light-attack planes.

The thought was that buying a low-cost, easy-to-maintain aircraft could effectively accomplish low-end missions in the Middle East at a lower expense than other Air Force planes, and that buying several hundred of such aircraft could also help the service absorb and train more pilots.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein repeatedly spoke about seeing a potential light-attack aircraft program as a way to increase interoperability with air forces that couldn’t afford an F-15 or F-16, but who would benefit from commonality with American-operated platforms.

“The whole way we got to where we’re at, we put out an invitation to participate, and we only had two that met all of the criteria that we were looking for,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official, said in July.

“We experimented with those, and they performed well enough that we did another phase, and those are the only two that we invited in [for phase two]. So at this point right now I’m seeing it as a competition between two airplanes.”

If the Air Force is seeking more data from the current entrants or wants to conduct further demonstrations, the exact nature of those future experiments are also unclear — though Donovan said more information about the path forward would be released this year.

Although Friday’s announcement doesn’t shut a door on the light-attack aircraft program, it does highlight the difficulties of rapid acquisition.

More than two years later, Donovan said the Air Force is still learning, and hinted that perhaps there was not enough buy-in among international partners.

“Did we meet the cost targets that we’re aiming for? What’s the market out there for coalition partners? Are there a lot of folks interested in that, or is there something else?” he said.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/01 ... efinitely/
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:38 am

This is starting to make more sense now and seems a better future proofed idea. Looking at Light Attack as a system operating in concert with drones and helos is a far better picture of the future operating environment than simply running out to get 100-300 light turboprops with machine guns and rockets. Will likely cost a bit more but will hopefully be executed in consultation with the army to better interface and operate within the joint airspace.

US Air Force’s light-attack experiment could mix in drones and helos

The U.S. Air Force’s light-attack experiment is set to get a lot bigger, with the service considering adding drones, helicopters and more sophisticated aircraft to the mix in the future, the service’s top general told Defense News.

“What is the right mix of fixed wing, rotary wing, manned and unmanned that can do the business of light attack?” Goldfein said in an exclusive Jan. 26 interview. “What is the right mix and how do we bring allies and partners in right now with us — not just periodically parachute in — but how do we expand this experiment to bring them into the tent with us?”

While the Air Force is still finalizing its strategy on light attack, Goldfein’s comments hint that a lack of interest by partner nations may have shaped the decision not to press ahead with a program of record late last year.

The Air Force was set to issue a request for proposals in December for a light-attack platform. The competition would been open to only the Embraer-Sierra Nevada Corp. A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron AT-6 Wolverine, two fixed-wing turboprops that the service said were best suited to meet the needs of the program.

But now, other aircraft could be joining them.

Goldfein said the Air Force chose not to release that RFP for two reasons: ongoing budget uncertainty and the desire to expand the parameters of what the service is seeking.

“For us to issue an RFP when we didn’t [know] what the budget was ... and setting an expectation that we’re ready to go into source selection when we’re still working our way through the strategy, in my mind, would have been irresponsible," Goldfein said. “I’ve talked to both of the CEOs involved, and we want to make sure we strengthen the partnership and build it as we go forward.”

Goldfein added that light attack was not something that was central to what the Air Force needed, saying that it would only be funded if the money is available in upcoming budgets.

Increasing interoperability has been a longtime goal of the light-attack experiments, but it appears to have taken on new importance as the experiment potentially moves forward.

Goldfein and other Air Force officials have spoken at length about the potential benefit of a common, off-the-shelf attack aircraft that could be purchased by countries that can’t afford the F-16, but still want to deepen ties with the U.S Air Force. Over the course of the effort, foreign delegations have been invited to observe flight demonstrations of the A-29, AT-6 and other previous contenders at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

However, not all nations could want a turboprop aircraft like the A-29 or AT-6.

“Some countries, it actually would be better to have an unmanned option. Some countries, [it] would be better to have a rotary-wing option," Goldfein said. “Some countries would do fixed wing, but [only with a] turbojet [engine]" instead of a turboprop.

https://www.defensenews.com/newsletters ... -aircraft/
 
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:59 pm

Ozair wrote:
This is starting to make more sense now and seems a better future proofed idea. Looking at Light Attack as a system operating in concert with drones and helos is a far better picture of the future operating environment than simply running out to get 100-300 light turboprops with machine guns and rockets. Will likely cost a bit more but will hopefully be executed in consultation with the army to better interface and operate within the joint airspace.

US Air Force’s light-attack experiment could mix in drones and helos

The U.S. Air Force’s light-attack experiment is set to get a lot bigger, with the service considering adding drones, helicopters and more sophisticated aircraft to the mix in the future, the service’s top general told Defense News.

“What is the right mix of fixed wing, rotary wing, manned and unmanned that can do the business of light attack?” Goldfein said in an exclusive Jan. 26 interview. “What is the right mix and how do we bring allies and partners in right now with us — not just periodically parachute in — but how do we expand this experiment to bring them into the tent with us?”

While the Air Force is still finalizing its strategy on light attack, Goldfein’s comments hint that a lack of interest by partner nations may have shaped the decision not to press ahead with a program of record late last year.

The Air Force was set to issue a request for proposals in December for a light-attack platform. The competition would been open to only the Embraer-Sierra Nevada Corp. A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron AT-6 Wolverine, two fixed-wing turboprops that the service said were best suited to meet the needs of the program.

But now, other aircraft could be joining them.

Goldfein said the Air Force chose not to release that RFP for two reasons: ongoing budget uncertainty and the desire to expand the parameters of what the service is seeking.

“For us to issue an RFP when we didn’t [know] what the budget was ... and setting an expectation that we’re ready to go into source selection when we’re still working our way through the strategy, in my mind, would have been irresponsible," Goldfein said. “I’ve talked to both of the CEOs involved, and we want to make sure we strengthen the partnership and build it as we go forward.”

Goldfein added that light attack was not something that was central to what the Air Force needed, saying that it would only be funded if the money is available in upcoming budgets.

Increasing interoperability has been a longtime goal of the light-attack experiments, but it appears to have taken on new importance as the experiment potentially moves forward.

Goldfein and other Air Force officials have spoken at length about the potential benefit of a common, off-the-shelf attack aircraft that could be purchased by countries that can’t afford the F-16, but still want to deepen ties with the U.S Air Force. Over the course of the effort, foreign delegations have been invited to observe flight demonstrations of the A-29, AT-6 and other previous contenders at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

However, not all nations could want a turboprop aircraft like the A-29 or AT-6.

“Some countries, it actually would be better to have an unmanned option. Some countries, [it] would be better to have a rotary-wing option," Goldfein said. “Some countries would do fixed wing, but [only with a] turbojet [engine]" instead of a turboprop.

https://www.defensenews.com/newsletters ... -aircraft/


I don't think 2030 EIS is ok.. Still I can understand Air Forces preferring jets. Helicopters and Turbo props are noisy, giving the adversaries time to get out of their caves and pull the nets of their DShK's.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:55 pm

It has been long overdue but JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) needs a dedicated fixed wing SMU (Special Missions Unit). With the US and NATO shifting back to conventional peer vs peer or near peer doctrine, the Air Forces and Naval Aviation will shift too. That does not mean the unconventional battlefield no longer exists; rather it means that Special Operations needs to be able to function well in both conventional and unconventional battlefields. Special operations forces need a low cost primitive system for combating low tech insurgencies. That does not mean the SMU aviation units can operate 100% autonomously, but require much less logistical support such as an Air Wing or Squadron. The Air Force killed the Spartan program for the Army, but SOCOM still has them...just not very official. Its hush hush but there was a near collision on the eastern seaboard a few years ago between a C130H and a C27J. A force of JSOC AC27Js, Super Tucanos, etc could be radical shift from the status quo. The AF 4 star brass will never let it happen, but one can dream.
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trpmb6
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:24 pm

From the defense news article a few posts back:

“Some countries, it actually would be better to have an unmanned option. Some countries, [it] would be better to have a rotary-wing option," Goldfein said. “Some countries would do fixed wing, but [only with a] turbojet [engine]" instead of a turboprop.


That is a bunch of malarkey. The vast majority of countries that would be, or are currently, interested in a light attack aircraft don't want the higher costs of an unmanned variant or a helicopter. Take Afghanistan for instance. They already operate the A29. Nigeria has expressed interest etc. I don't think any of these countries want an unmanned aircraft. So what is really going on then?

It has more to do with this statement:

“For us to issue an RFP when we didn’t [know] what the budget was ... and setting an expectation that we’re ready to go into source selection when we’re still working our way through the strategy, in my mind, would have been irresponsible," Goldfein said. “I’ve talked to both of the CEOs involved, and we want to make sure we strengthen the partnership and build it as we go forward.”


AKA, until congress appropriates funding, we can't really go any further.

Which means, this whole experiment is a total failure. The whole point was for this new acquisitions office was to go out and find ways to fill needs in the USAF with existing off the shelf options. You will not see companies go out and innovate new designs without the USAF going through the traditional acquisition method.

And that's too bad.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:39 pm

Which means, this whole experiment is a total failure. The whole point was for this new acquisitions office was to go out and find ways to fill needs in the USAF with existing off the shelf options. You will not see companies go out and innovate new designs without the USAF going through the traditional acquisition method.

And that's too bad.[/quote]

Indeed, like many tactical innovations....Strategic gods apply their own parameters and thus reduce it to rubbish because the program doesn’t fit neatly into conventional models. The AF and well most of the DoD doesn’t like SOCOM becoming too autonomous.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:09 am

keesje wrote:

I don't think 2030 EIS is ok.. Still I can understand Air Forces preferring jets. Helicopters and Turbo props are noisy, giving the adversaries time to get out of their caves and pull the nets of their DShK's.

You are always good for a laugh Keesje, a DShK tops out at about 4,000 ft so plenty of air above for the RW and turboprops. The USAF will still have plenty of jet aircraft left to deploy to areas where it suits and leave OA-X to those areas it suits.

trpmb6 wrote:
That is a bunch of malarkey. The vast majority of countries that would be, or are currently, interested in a light attack aircraft don't want the higher costs of an unmanned variant or a helicopter. Take Afghanistan for instance. They already operate the A29. Nigeria has expressed interest etc. I don't think any of these countries want an unmanned aircraft. So what is really going on then?

I think Goldfein is referring to the operational environment and not other countries acquiring OA-X. If you look at the last 18 years Iraq had a higher air threat than Afghanistan and both had a lower air threat than Syria under ISIS. Hence the reference I believe it more about threat levels and the operational environment that the USAF will face and not potential export of the capability.

trpmb6 wrote:
It has more to do with this statement:

AKA, until congress appropriates funding, we can't really go any further.

Which means, this whole experiment is a total failure. The whole point was for this new acquisitions office was to go out and find ways to fill needs in the USAF with existing off the shelf options. You will not see companies go out and innovate new designs without the USAF going through the traditional acquisition method.

And that's too bad.

Agree but money is tight. Given the existing pilot shortage and the budget priorities the USAF has, as well as a desire from all the services to move away from counter-insurgency, you can see why they aren't rushing into a system that doesn't provide at least some adaptability to the future battle space.
 
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trpmb6
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Posts: 2640
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:45 pm

Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:34 pm

Ozair wrote:
Agree but money is tight. Given the existing pilot shortage and the budget priorities the USAF has, as well as a desire from all the services to move away from counter-insurgency, you can see why they aren't rushing into a system that doesn't provide at least some adaptability to the future battle space.


Agreed, especially in regard to pilot shortage.

But cost was also a reason for looking towards an off the shelf platform.

I think unmanned has many roles going forward. It will in cargo and freight as well. But for now I personally think there is a gap that can be filled with an AT6 or A29.
 
Reddevil556
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:09 pm

Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:46 pm

trpmb6 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Agree but money is tight. Given the existing pilot shortage and the budget priorities the USAF has, as well as a desire from all the services to move away from counter-insurgency, you can see why they aren't rushing into a system that doesn't provide at least some adaptability to the future battle space.


Agreed, especially in regard to pilot shortage.

But cost was also a reason for looking towards an off the shelf platform.

I think unmanned has many roles going forward. It will in cargo and freight as well. But for now I personally think there is a gap that can be filled with an AT6 or A29.


Drones will eventually become more versatile, but currently many are still limited by the tunnel vision they have. A two seat Bronco (as an example) still has more situational awareness than a drone. Again the platform is tailored to unconventional battlefields and special operations missions. I don't think anyone thinks these aircraft will be expected to be autonomous above the battlefield without some sort of screening cover. The fancy billion dollar machines fly around keeping the crop dusters safe...just to throw a little sarcasm out there.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3197
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:03 pm

Reddevil556 wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Agree but money is tight. Given the existing pilot shortage and the budget priorities the USAF has, as well as a desire from all the services to move away from counter-insurgency, you can see why they aren't rushing into a system that doesn't provide at least some adaptability to the future battle space.


Agreed, especially in regard to pilot shortage.

But cost was also a reason for looking towards an off the shelf platform.

I think unmanned has many roles going forward. It will in cargo and freight as well. But for now I personally think there is a gap that can be filled with an AT6 or A29.


Drones will eventually become more versatile, but currently many are still limited by the tunnel vision they have. A two seat Bronco (as an example) still has more situational awareness than a drone. Again the platform is tailored to unconventional battlefields and special operations missions. I don't think anyone thinks these aircraft will be expected to be autonomous above the battlefield without some sort of screening cover. The fancy billion dollar machines fly around keeping the crop dusters safe...just to throw a little sarcasm out there.

Drones are getting better with their ability to monitor large areas all at once; for example, Logos Technologies has developed and tested a sensor package that can monitor a nearly 5 by 5 square mile area from 12,000 feet in a 31lb package, complete with the camera, onboard processing, data storage, and communications relay:

https://www.logostech.net/redkite-passe ... rator-uas/

This technology also exists in a larger package and is already fielded as part of the Wide Area Aerial Surveillance System; it's called Gorgon Stare, and it was paired with ARGUS-IS as part of DARPA's efforts to develop a persistent, wide area surveillance system that can fit on a drone, such as the MQ-9 Reaper.
 
Reddevil556
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:09 pm

Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:34 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:

Agreed, especially in regard to pilot shortage.

But cost was also a reason for looking towards an off the shelf platform.

I think unmanned has many roles going forward. It will in cargo and freight as well. But for now I personally think there is a gap that can be filled with an AT6 or A29.


Drones will eventually become more versatile, but currently many are still limited by the tunnel vision they have. A two seat Bronco (as an example) still has more situational awareness than a drone. Again the platform is tailored to unconventional battlefields and special operations missions. I don't think anyone thinks these aircraft will be expected to be autonomous above the battlefield without some sort of screening cover. The fancy billion dollar machines fly around keeping the crop dusters safe...just to throw a little sarcasm out there.

Drones are getting better with their ability to monitor large areas all at once; for example, Logos Technologies has developed and tested a sensor package that can monitor a nearly 5 by 5 square mile area from 12,000 feet in a 31lb package, complete with the camera, onboard processing, data storage, and communications relay:

https://www.logostech.net/redkite-passe ... rator-uas/

This technology also exists in a larger package and is already fielded as part of the Wide Area Aerial Surveillance System; it's called Gorgon Stare, and it was paired with ARGUS-IS as part of DARPA's efforts to develop a persistent, wide area surveillance system that can fit on a drone, such as the MQ-9 Reaper.


Trust me, I see the writing on the wall that eventually the situational awareness of drones will exceed that of human pilots and observers. However currently the operations in Syria have shown a need to for the traditional FAC and dedicated close air support deployed in the Vietnam conflict. I don’t believe the system is relevant on the modern conventional battlefield, but perfectly configured for missions like fighting ISIS cells.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
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keesje
Posts: 13118
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:54 pm

Ozair wrote:
keesje wrote:

I don't think 2030 EIS is ok.. Still I can understand Air Forces preferring jets. Helicopters and Turbo props are noisy, giving the adversaries time to get out of their caves and pull the nets of their DShK's.

You are always good for a laugh Keesje, a DShK tops out at about 4,000 ft so plenty of air above for the RW and turboprops. The USAF will still have plenty of jet aircraft left to deploy to areas where it suits and leave OA-X to those areas it suits.


The CAS mission requires you to come down to do the job, also for aircraft that can fly much higher and faster.

Image
A10

Having two engine redundancy, speed and being more quiet dramatically improves survival of your crew, or their willingness to get in. The DShK might not be the ideal weapon for AA, massive quantity & availability compensates a lot, apparently.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway

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