The U.S. Air Force wants to shift unspent money to its program to boost its light attack aircraft efforts. Previously, Gen. David Goldfein has described light attacks as a “network approach to build up a team between coalition partners operating similar aircraft.”
The Air Force hopes to combine a total of $156.73 million from its 2018 and 2019 budgets to continue the light attack, also known as OA-X experimentation, as well as obtain as many as six aircraft.
The Defense Department said that obtaining these aircraft will “address the Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) capability gap in its combat aviation advisory mission.” It will also allow Air Combat Command to analyze new tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as facilitate Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training.
The Air Force plans to purchase up to three of Textron Aviation’s AT-6 Wolverine and up to three of Sierra Nevada/Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano, which are the best fits for light attack according to Air Force officials.
The Air Force asked for an additional $35 million for these efforts in its 2020 budget request. Gen. Goldfein said procurement funds for the full program will be laid out in the 2022 to 2024 budget cycles.