The US Air Force is considering two new procurements to boost their close air support mission, including an off-the-shelf option for permissive environments and a cheap, clean sheet design aircraft that would replace the Fairchild Dornier A-10.
In a recent briefing, air force officials laid out their plan for the light-attack OA-X and the A-X2, a short-term replacement for the A-10. The service is looking at an initial order of about 20 aircraft for the OA-X mission a early as next year, with serious procurement launching in Fiscal 2018, Dan Goure, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, tells FlightGlobal. To meet that rapid need, the service is examining two fully developed aircraft, Beechcraft’s AT-6 and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano, and are planning a “fly off” for this fall.
The air force has excluded Textron AirLand’s Scorpion, a dual light attack fighter and trainer aircraft still in its development phase, as an option for OA-X.