Heather Wilson: Air Force Eyes Combat Demo After Light Attack Aircraft Experiment’s Completion

Heather Wilson

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has said the service branch completed the initial round of test flights for light-attack aircraft on Aug. 30 at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Wilson told the publication in a Thursday interview the military branch plans to wrap up reports on each aircraft’s performance and cost by the end of 2017.

“I would expect this fall, or certainly by December or January, that we would make a decision on whether to do a follow-on experiment — it would be a combat experiment — and which aircraft might participate in that,” Wilson said.

“I’m not sure exactly what missions they would run, but one of the things we can do is see how it connects up with command-and-control systems, those kinds of things,” she added.

The report said the Air Force’s OA-X demonstration commenced in late July and saw the participation of several industry teams that include L3 Technologies and Air Tractor; Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer; and Textron.

The L3-Air Tractor team demonstrated the AT-802L Longsword aircraft, while Sierra Nevada and Embraer flew their A-29 Super Tucano plane.

Textron showcased its AT-6 Wolverine and Scorpion jet at the OA-X experiment that seeks to help the Air Force determine whether to advance the procurement of light-attack planes, the report added.

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