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Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:35 am

I recommend that SOCOM take over the project and create a fixed wing light attack unit within 169th SOAR. That would really infuriate the institutionally inbred brass. I remember seeing unmarked C-27s flying at a certain airlfield. If JSOC wants it they will find a way. SOCOM and JSOC want the right tools for the job. It isn’t the rank file AF brass that love this concept.
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)

Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:55 am

Well this confuses the OA-X program even more than it already was. SOCOM is going to push out a requirement for 75 Light attack airframes to support their troops deployed overseas.

US Special Operations plans to buy 75 light attack aircraft for Armed Overwatch

The US Special Operations Command plans on buying 75 fixed-wing aircraft for its just-announced Armed Overwatch programme.

The aircraft are intended for close air support of special operations troops, according to a notice announcing an upcoming industry day posted online 3 February.

...

Initially, Armed Overwatch would be pursued as a prototype initiative to demonstrate the concept, says US Special Operations Command.

If the demonstration phase proves promising enough, US Special Operations Command plans to award a follow-on contract with a base 5-year ordering period, plus a 2-year option, for 75 aircraft and MRO support.

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 60.article

You would think that SOCOM wouldn't need to run a prototype competition for this and just use the data gained from the USAF work already done although this may open the door for other entrants to come back into the acquisition mix. Perhaps this is just the graceful way the USAF can withdraw now from OA-X and hand the baton on to SOCOM who were likely the ones really interested in this capability anyway.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:01 am

I just read this whole thread. Thanks for writing it ..

Reading the thread, one would think that attack helo's are doomed. They are slower, and lower, than any light attack plane. I understand one can hide behind a hill in a helo,
1) but at some point you will need to expose your self for long enough to acquire a target (and the enemy can acquire you)
2) in a confused environment, one might hide behind the wrong hill or fall into an enemy trap.

What do the people opposed to the light attack plane think of the attack helo?
 
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kitplane01
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:12 am

Ozair wrote:
An important aspect of CAS though is response to a TIC. The airframe will generally not reside directly over the battlespace in question but have to either launch from the ground to support that TIC or transit from a designated holding location to the TIC location. In that context fast jet speeds are vital and one of the reasons the B-1 did so well above Afghanistan, because it could both loiter and then transit rapidly to the required locations.

A weapons and sensor equipped AT-6/A-27 is limited to around .6 Mach while most of the fast jets can, if necessary, push above Mach one with weapons and sensors attached. That is close to double the response time.


I don't think that's the right picture. But I'm so willing to be educated.

An A-27 is not a replacement for an F-35. One could buy and operate four A-27's for the price of an F-35. If there are four A-27's then each one is twice as close. And that should help response time. Heck, if the closest F-35 is busy helping others, then having four A-27's in the area is much better than one F-35.

Of course I agree that there are things an F-35 can do that four A-27s cannot, but I think the opposite is also true. Like be in two places at once. Or carry more than four times as many rounds for the gun. Or have four sets of eyes in the air.
 
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seahawk
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:31 am

kitplane01 wrote:
I just read this whole thread. Thanks for writing it ..

Reading the thread, one would think that attack helo's are doomed. They are slower, and lower, than any light attack plane. I understand one can hide behind a hill in a helo,
1) but at some point you will need to expose your self for long enough to acquire a target (and the enemy can acquire you)
2) in a confused environment, one might hide behind the wrong hill or fall into an enemy trap.

What do the people opposed to the light attack plane think of the attack helo?


The simple answer is both. The AH is needed to escort transport helicopters during troop insertions and as a mobile anti-tank system in peer conflicts, the light attack plane is the better overwatch system in low intensity conflicts. I always wonder if the US forces have lost all institutional memory of Vietnam.
 
texl1649
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:23 am

The old P-47/Skyraider/A-10 job of manned fixed wing support is something the USAF has long been loath to invest in, I am glad this is moving forward, if even as a mostly export program. To your point Seahawk, no, I don’t think much ‘memory’ of the challenges of CAS using F-105’s, F-4’s and yes Cessnas and A-1’s/C-47’s exists at this point; the US Military limits the actual force to in truth 20-30 year careers; I think the last Vietnam vet left the pentagon over 5 years ago.

SOCOM is actually very, very motivated to provide support for their operators, and exceptional Helo pilots. Less beurocracy/over-perfect spec’s, they will get the radios working and delivering ordinance where needed.
 
texl1649
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:37 pm

Not directly related but I could see SOCIM interest in the darpa gunslinger missile program as a complement with the project in this thread.

https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/darpa ... unslinger/
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:02 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
I just read this whole thread. Thanks for writing it ..

Reading the thread, one would think that attack helo's are doomed. They are slower, and lower, than any light attack plane. I understand one can hide behind a hill in a helo,
1) but at some point you will need to expose your self for long enough to acquire a target (and the enemy can acquire you)
2) in a confused environment, one might hide behind the wrong hill or fall into an enemy trap.

What do the people opposed to the light attack plane think of the attack helo?

The attack helo has a place but in a near peer engagement that place is FEBA and no further. Even then I’d expect the attack helo units to take significant casualties.

kitplane01 wrote:


I don't think that's the right picture. But I'm so willing to be educated.

An A-27 is not a replacement for an F-35. One could buy and operate four A-27's for the price of an F-35. If there are four A-27's then each one is twice as close. And that should help response time. Heck, if the closest F-35 is busy helping others, then having four A-27's in the area is much better than one F-35.

We could both craft plenty of scenarios that benefited either the F-35 or the A-27. Response time does play an important role in CAS today over Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria. If you looked at both of those AOs though you see potentially different issues. Iraq/Syria is a more dynamic threat picture with fast emerging contact and time sensitive targeting required in what is probably a higher threat environment. Afghanistan, even though the US are dropped more weapons this last year than all previous years, is less time sensitive and more responsive TIC scenarios. Afghanistan is of course land locked so a logistically much more difficult situation and a geographically more diverse operating environment.

Basing becomes a big issue for positioning assets closer to the fight. All well and good to have four times the number of CAS aircraft available but in doing so you need to base them somewhere and if you want them to match the response timing then you likely need more bases. Bases cost money, are difficult to defend and place additional lives at risk because of the threat.

You also need more pilots to equip the additional aircraft. The USAF is already critically short of pilots for its primary mission aircraft and adding additional low intensity trained pilots to the mix doesn’t improve overall USAF ability to fight and win a conflict in all threat environments.

kitplane01 wrote:

Of course I agree that there are things an F-35 can do that four A-27s cannot, but I think the opposite is also true. Like be in two places at once. Or carry more than four times as many rounds for the gun. Or have four sets of eyes in the air.

Also agree there are things an A-27 is likely better suited to than an F-35. Fighters, and bombers, make great show of force assets compared to small turbo prop CAS aircraft and not every TIC requires a weapon to be dropped. The number of rounds is somewhat immaterial, the gun is little used in CAS today compared to dropping PGMs.

Fighters jets, while costing more, also have other benefits like lifting higher quantities of munitions, flying those munitions further, being refueled in the aircraft to extend mission timing and most importantly, being able to operate in higher intensity conflicts where an A-27 simply wouldn’t be survivable. That threshold isn’t high, once suitable and sufficient AAA/MANPADS enter the threat environment a fast jet becomes significantly more survivable and the turbo prop CAS planes and attack helos go home. (pretty sure I have quoted the post Vietnam report in this thread demonstrating how an increased air threat forced these aircraft out of the CAS role).

seahawk wrote:
I always wonder if the US forces have lost all institutional memory of Vietnam.

Nope, plenty of knowledge and understanding of Vietnam. The USAF has been fighting a CAS war for the last 19 years. They have a very good understanding of CAS and have developed their systems and doctrine to be very effective in that environment.

texl1649 wrote:
The old P-47/Skyraider/A-10 job of manned fixed wing support is something the USAF has long been loath to invest in, I am glad this is moving forward, if even as a mostly export program. To your point Seahawk, no, I don’t think much ‘memory’ of the challenges of CAS using F-105’s, F-4’s and yes Cessnas and A-1’s/C-47’s exists at this point; the US Military limits the actual force to in truth 20-30 year careers; I think the last Vietnam vet left the pentagon over 5 years ago.

I don’t agree. The USAF is tasked with winning air campaigns that cover both high and low intensity conflicts. Lacking the budgets of the Cold War I can see why they fight the CAS conflict the way they do. You have one USN aviator who has shot down an adversary aircraft since 2003, while you have literally thousands of aviators/pilots who have dropped A2G weapons. The USAF has multiple exercises every year based on CAS scenarios, is a strong proponent of the JTAC scheme which is pivotal to CAS operations today and for most USAF fighter units CAS proficiency is a key training outcome. Additionally the amount of money and knowledge that flowed into ISR to support the CAS fight should also demonstrate how important the USAF saw this role.

texl1649 wrote:
SOCOM is actually very, very motivated to provide support for their operators, and exceptional Helo pilots. Less beurocracy/over-perfect spec’s, they will get the radios working and delivering ordinance where needed.

I wouldn’t expect the solution to the SOCOM requirement to necessarily be an AT-6/A-27. USAF Light Attack via OA-X is now dead and buried but armed overwatch, as defined below, being run by SOCOM will be a different competition with different intent.

Armed overwatch will provide special operators deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems fulfilling close air support (CAS); precision strike; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in austere and permissive environments. It will also fulfil armed reconnaissance, strike co-ordination and reconnaissance, and airborne forward air control.

https://www.janes.com/article/94311/top ... -overwatch
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:26 am

The USAF has acquired the expected two A-29s which I expect will be the end of any OA-X acquisition for them.

US Air Force buys two A-29 light attack aircraft for continued experiment

Sierra Nevada Corporation has won a $129 million contract to supply two Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 light attack aircraft to the US Air Force (USAF).

The award includes ground support equipment, pilot training, logistic support, aircraft sparing and sustainment, says Sierra Nevada on 3 March.

“The US Air Force will now have the opportunity to deploy the A-29 in support of US and allied operations,” says Mark Williams, vice-president of aviation strategic plans and programmes for Sierra Nevada’s aviation and security business area.

The A-29 is a turboprop light attack aircraft originally designed and built by Embraer. The Brazilian company also builds the aircraft in the USA via its partnership with Sierra Nevada. The arrangement with US-based Sierra Nevada allows the A-29 to be sold to US military services and international customers through the US Foreign Military Sales process.

...

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 53.article

EDIT: Removed FMS sentence as DSCA has processed multiple FMS A-29 sales.
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:21 am

Ozair wrote:
The USAF has acquired the expected two A-29s which I expect will be the end of any OA-X acquisition for them.


The latest two-aircraft sale is not connected with the Air Force Special Operations Command’s recently announced Armed Overwatch programme, which is a separate initiative, says Sierra Nevada.

Rather, the award is to continue the USAF’s light attack experiment. The service also plans to buy two or three examples of the Textron Aviation AT-6 light attack aircraft as part of that effort.


Not sure.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:01 am

keesje wrote:
Ozair wrote:
The USAF has acquired the expected two A-29s which I expect will be the end of any OA-X acquisition for them.


The latest two-aircraft sale is not connected with the Air Force Special Operations Command’s recently announced Armed Overwatch programme, which is a separate initiative, says Sierra Nevada.

Rather, the award is to continue the USAF’s light attack experiment. The service also plans to buy two or three examples of the Textron Aviation AT-6 light attack aircraft as part of that effort.


Not sure.

Thanks, missed that part. Once those are acquired that will be it for OA-X as there is no more funding available.
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:05 pm

Ozair wrote:
keesje wrote:
Ozair wrote:
The USAF has acquired the expected two A-29s which I expect will be the end of any OA-X acquisition for them.


The latest two-aircraft sale is not connected with the Air Force Special Operations Command’s recently announced Armed Overwatch programme, which is a separate initiative, says Sierra Nevada.

Rather, the award is to continue the USAF’s light attack experiment. The service also plans to buy two or three examples of the Textron Aviation AT-6 light attack aircraft as part of that effort.


Not sure.

Thanks, missed that part. Once those are acquired that will be it for OA-X as there is no more funding available.


You could still be right, but they can't confirm it at this stage..
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:15 pm

Janes has confirmed the USAF also contracted for two AT-6 aircraft although the contract value hasn't been announced. The intent of the program now is to assist foreign nations buying these aircraft.

USAF contracts light-strike aircraft to further LAE experiment

The US Air Force (USAF) has placed contracts with the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Textron to further its Light Attack Experiment (LAE).

Contracts for two SNC-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and two Textron AT-6 Wolverine light attack turboprop aircraft were placed in early- and mid-March respectively. While Textron announced its contract was valued at USD70.2 million, SNC did not disclosed a value for its award.

News of the awards came about five months after the USAF announced in October 2019 that it would buy a "limited number" of turboprop aircraft to satisfy the current phase of its LAE programme. As noted by the service at the time, the Super Tucanos will be used at Hurlburt Field in Florida by Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to develop an instructor pilot programme for the Combat Aviation Advisory mission to meet increased partner nation requests for light attack assistance. The Wolverines will be used by Air Combat Command (ACC) at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada for continued testing and development of operational tactics and standards for exportable, tactical networks that improve interoperability with international partners.

"Our focus is on how a light attack aircraft can help our allies and partners as they confront violent extremism and conduct operations within their borders," Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein said in 2019, adding; "Continuing this experiment, [and] using the authorities Congress has provided, gives us the opportunity to put a small number of aircraft through the paces and work with partner nations on ways in which smaller, affordable aircraft like these can support their air forces."

...

https://www.janes.com/article/94935/usa ... experiment
 
superbizzy73
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:26 pm

Not sure if this belongs here, but it looks like "Armed Overwatch" has a demonstration timeframe set.

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 09.article
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue May 05, 2020 11:09 am

The Bronco is apparently back for the SOCOM spin off of OA-X although through an eclectic mix of companies with Leidos as the Prime. Under a $1000k an hour is a great operating cost although it will probably have a higher acquisition cost than the AT-6 or A-29.

Bronco II returns for SOCOM Armed Overwatch bid

The Bronco II light attack and surveillance aircraft is being put forward for the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Armed Overwatch programme, it was revealed on 4 May.

Leidos is taking the position of prime contractor for the bid, with Paramount Group USA and Vertex Aerospace supporting the bid of the aircraft for the programme. Vertex Aerospace, formerly a business unit of L3 Technologies (now L3Harris), offers a variety of maintenance, through-life support, aerostructures fabrication, and aircraft integration services.

Additional partners for the platform include Leonardo DRS, Dynetics, Beast Code, Fulcrum Concepts, and Concord XXI aviation flight training.

Should the aircraft be selected, the consortium plans to manufacture it at a facility in Crestview, Florida, as part of efforts to maintain the 'Buy American, Build American' requirements of the US government's procurement strategy.

The Bronco II has six underwing hardpoints and two optional belly hardpoints, and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-66B turboprop engine. The aircraft has an endurance of more than 6.5 hours and a maximum range of 2,000 nautical miles including external fuel tanks.

Most notably, the aircraft comes with a mission module that fits under the cockpit. The module, which has a capacity of 1,764 lbs and volume of 53 ft³, can be used to accommodate a range of payloads including additional EO/IR sensors, signals intelligence or electronics intelligence payloads, medical supplies, a fuel drum, resupply packages, or an aerial resupply capability. The company claims the module can be reconfigured in less than two hours.

Paramount Group officials had previously told Jane's that the targeted hourly operating cost for the aircraft was under USD1,000.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/95937/bro ... rwatch-bid

Image
 
texl1649
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue May 05, 2020 12:10 pm

Wow. That configuration still makes more sense to me for this role (pilots have better view, engine shielded more from ground fire at the rear, high wing for hardpoints, twin boom Tail for some additional survivalists, a la A-10.). I don’t know much about Paramount but if they’ve actually been working on it and built some since 2009 it is perhaps a ‘safe’ model for SOCOM to analyze. Not sure why they need two people in it, but whatever.

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 21.article

Also nifty;

“ The aircraft has a modular mission bay in its belly that Leidos says can be swapped out in less than two hours. For instance, depending on the mission, the modular bay could substitute intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors, signal intelligence electronics, or cargo payloads.

The Bronco II can be broken down and packed into a shipping container. One aircraft can fit inside a Lockheed Martin C-130. Two can be transported inside a Boeing C-17”
 
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Devilfish
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue May 05, 2020 11:07 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I don’t know much about Paramount but if they’ve actually been working on it and built some since 2009 it is perhaps a ‘safe’ model for SOCOM to analyze. Not sure why they need two people in it, but whatever.

Previously called the AHRLAC and MWARI, it is the brainchild of what remain of the South African aerospace industry. Paramount partners with Boeing to give it wider exposure and dubbed it Bronco 2 for the worldwide market.....

https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraf ... ft_id=1202

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dq0PxMoFB4


Image
https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... mage02.jpg


texl1649 wrote:
Not sure why they need two people in it, but whatever.

Maybe one is the recon or weapons officer. It's such a cool aircraft that I've had it as my screensaver for three years now. :cool2:
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
texl1649
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue May 05, 2020 11:24 pm

I totally agree devilish. Here is a piece giving some additional odds though. I for one am rooting for the Bronco II. The ability to package/containerize and change mission modules quickly seems really appealing.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... -operators
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed May 06, 2020 12:50 am

Devilfish wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
I don’t know much about Paramount but if they’ve actually been working on it and built some since 2009 it is perhaps a ‘safe’ model for SOCOM to analyze. Not sure why they need two people in it, but whatever.

Previously called the AHRLAC and MWARI, it is the brainchild of what remain of the South African aerospace industry. Paramount partners with Boeing to give it wider exposure and dubbed it Bronco 2 for the worldwide market.....

From that then I assume the Boeing association has ended and, from the Janes article, Paramount are going with Leidos as their US prime?
 
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Devilfish
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu May 07, 2020 4:47 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Here is a piece giving some additional odds though. I for one am rooting for the Bronco II. The ability to package/containerize and change mission modules quickly seems really appealing.

It is quite an amazing platform indeed and looks more adapted for these roles than a glorified crop duster which suits smaller forces better.


Ozair wrote:
From that then I assume the Boeing association has ended and, from the Janes article, Paramount are going with Leidos as their US prime?

I was under the impression that Boeing would assist in the development of the other specialty mission packages, but perhaps the bankruptcy filing put a limit on that. Though I think the Bronco II with its sensor suite would be strongest in the FAC role, as roughing it down and dirty could be too much risk for a relatively expensive asset than the A-29B and AT-6.
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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Devilfish
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon May 25, 2020 2:12 am

A look back at what went on before.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F021IwWGl4
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield

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