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Lt. Gen. Mike Holmes: Air Force Eyes Near-Term Procurement of Light Attack Aircraft

Mike Holmes

The U.S. Air Force looks to test various off-the-shelf aerial platforms in spring 2017 as the service branch considers procurement of a new aircraft for light-attack missions, Defense News reported Monday.

Valerie Insinna writes Lt. Gen. James Holmes, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements at the Air Force, suggested the idea of demonstration flights to the military service’s other officials in a bid to help address pilot shortage and readiness challenges at the branch.

“We may do some experiments where we invite people to come in and show us what their airplanes can do,” Holmes told Defense News in an interview.

Holmes added a potential light-attack aircraft, dubbed OA-X, would complement the A-10 Warthog fleet in efforts to counter extremist groups, according to the report.

The report said the Air Force also plans to put off the retirement of the A-10 beyond 2022 to address concerns over cost-per-flight hour of fifth-generation fighters.

Holmes also seeks data to help Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein decide whether to push through with an OA-X acquisition program, Insinna writes.

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