The Air Force on Friday is expected to formally invite companies to participate in a light-attack aircraft demonstration this summer, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official said.
“This is … the innovative spirit of trial and error,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition at the Pentagon, said during a defense breakfast outside Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
“We’re trying to keep this as broad as we can so that industry may have something that’s very innovative that we haven’t thought about,” he said.
Bunch reiterated the light-attack concept — should the “experiment” prevail and the Air Force choose to fund it — is a needed platform for current manpower levels.
“Why are we even exploring this concept? The need is, we need to be able to absorb fighter pilots,” Bunch said. “Another reason is we want to look at a concept so we could have a lower operating cost, a lower unit cost, for something to be able to operate in a permissive … environment than what I would require a fourth- or a fifth-gen aircraft to be able to operate in.”
It would “minimize the wear-and-tear” of current fighters such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor in the long run, he said.
“But we can’t do it at the expense of mission accomplishments,” he added.
With the concept, dubbed OA-X, pilots could also focus on training for a high-end fight. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the DoD Buzz website.