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U.S. Air Force selects Sierra Nevada Corp. to build next Light Attack Aircraft

Posted by Dylan Malyasov on


On FMay. 8, the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command posted a notice on the U.S. government’s main contracting website indicated the Air Force intends to solicit proposals from Sierra Nevada Corp. with  A-29 Super Tucano for new Light Attack Aircraft or LAA.

“Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is the only firm that appears to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force’s time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter,” stated in the notice by U.S. Air Force Materiel Command.

Also added that it is anticipated that a formal solicitation will be released in May of 2019 and a contract will be awarded in the 4th quarter of FY19.

But a similar solicitation for Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine will be forthcoming, an Air Force spokeswoman confirmed.

“We expect a separate procurement action for the AT-6,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News. Stefanek added that the service still intends to buy two to three of each aircraft for more experiments at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and with the special operations community at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

LAA will provide an affordable, non-developmental aircraft intended to operate globally in the types of Irregular Warfare environments that have characterized combat operations over the past 25 years.

Additionally, it will support Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) with the ability to accomplish its mission of Close Combat Air support to partner nations.

According to the pre-solicitation, the U.S. Air Force intends to procure 359 aircraft for 8 operational squadrons and 3 Flying Training Units (FTUs).

The light attack effort supports U.S. nation’s defense strategy to counter violent extremism on a global scale, alongside allies and partners. A light attack capability could sustain competence in irregular warfare, maximize capability from financial investment, and harness existing, innovative technologies. A light attack aircraft option not only offers additional value and flexibility, but also accelerates modernization of current and potential partner forces who do not require advanced fighter aircraft.

What do you think?