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Air Force Test-Flies Light Attack Aircraft Offerings

U.S. Air Force pilots on Wednesday performed basic surface attack missions and familiarization flights with four aircraft platforms from industry participants in the service branch’s Light Attack Experiment campaign at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The event gathered senior military leaders and international visitors to witness demonstrations of an A-29 Super Tucano from the EmbraerSierra Nevada Corp. team, an AT-802 Longsword from the Air TractorL3 Technologies alliance as well as Scorpion and AT-6 Wolverine platforms from Textron Aviation.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson offered a preview of the flight test campaign last week.

“This experiment is about looking at new ways to improve readiness and lethality,” said Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff and an inductee into Executive Mosaic‘s Wash100 for 2017.

“Working with industry, and building on the Combat Dragon series of tests, we are determining whether a commercial off-the-shelf aircraft and sensor package can contribute to the coalition fight against violent extremism,” Goldfein added.

The Air Force noted scenarios to be performed throughout the experiment will cover various combat mission aspects such as air interdiction, close air support, combat search and rescue, strike coordination and reconnaissance.

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