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Light Attack Aircraft (LAA)
Light Attack Experiment - Phase 2 - Light Attack Platform

This program changes names every few months, making it very tedious to track.

The Commander Directed Projects Division (AFLCMC/OZJ) issued a Notice of Contract Action (NOCA) 03 August 2018 to solicit proposals from limited sources and award contract(s) for the production of Light Attack Aircraft. The presolicatation notice was re-issued as FA8637-19-R-1000. 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. It is anticipated that formal solicitation will be released in Dec 2018 and contract award in 4th quarter of FY19. The effort will be awarded using other than full and open competition to the successful offeror under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), as implemented by FAR 6.302-1 - Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements, among the limited sources. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Textron Aviation are the only firms that appear to possess the necessary capability within the Air Force's time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter.

An Embraer EMB-314B (A-29B) "Super Tucano" participating in the USAF's Light Attack Experiment at the Red Rio Bombing Range impacted the ground at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico on on 22 June 2018. One of the two crew received minor injuries. The other crew member, USN Lt, died in the crash. The crash came about five weeks after the USAF kicked off the second phase of the light attack experiment at on 17 May 2018. The USAF plans to make a decision to potentially buy hundreds of light attack fighters after evaluating the data gathered during this experiment. In addition to the A-29, Textron Aviation provided a AT-6 Wolverine for the USAF to evaluate.

Following the Light Attack Experiment conducted in August 2017, the Air Force announced its intention to continue experimenting with two non-developmental aircraft, the Textron Aviation AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, from May to July 2018 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

"Rather than do a combat demonstration, we have decided to work closely with industry to experiment with maintenance, data networking and sensors with the two most promising light attack aircraft the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano," said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. "This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement."

Further experimentation will examine logistics and maintenance requirements, weapons and sensor issues, training syllabus validity, networking and future interoperability with partner forces. The Air Force will also experiment with rapidly building and operating an exportable, affordable network to enable aircraft to communicate with joint and multi-national forces, as well as command-and-control nodes.

Air Force Materiel Command issued an Invitation to Patriciate (ITP) [Solicitation Number: ITP-LA-SDPE-2017] on 17 March 2017 for the Capability Assessment of the Non-Developmental Light Attack Platforms in support of the Office of Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE), Air Force Materiel Command, Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Four commercial off-the-shelf planes participated in the experiment, including: Air Tractor and L3s AT-802L Longsword; Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraers A-29 Super Tucano; and the Scorpion jet and AT-6 Wolverine, both from Textron.

The SDPE issued this ITP as part of its market research into industry's capability, capacity, and interest in providing platforms that will be cost-effective assets (i.e., assets having low procurement, operating, and sustainment costs) in the future United States Air Force (USAF) force structure. Results from this Capability Assessment will be used to inform requirements and acquisition decisions The invitation was part of a broader Air Force effort to explore cost-effective attack platform options.

  • Light Attack - the aircraft must be capable of: Continuously computed impact point (CCIP) and/or continuously computed release point (CCRP) employment of MK81/82, BDU-33s, rocket pod munitions (70mm Hydra), laser guided and if capable, GPSaided munitions; CCIP employment of a .50 caliber minimum forward firing aerial gunnery capability; Employment of a minimum of two 500 lb class weapons while configured with a forward firing gun and electro-optical (EO)/infrared (IR) sensor.
  • Armed Reconnaissance - to allow for targeting and reconnaissance from both crew positions the EO/IR sensor should be integrated with the aircraft avionics, displays and heads up display (HUD). The aircraft must be capable of: EO/IR Full Motion Video (FMV) imaging; Laser designation using North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Standard 1.06 micron laser designator; Night vision goggle (NVG) compatible IR marking; Laser spot tracking; EO/IR image downlink to distribute FMV line-of-sight in flight to Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) or One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) receivers.

The live-fly experiment is an element of the Light Attack Capabilities Experimentation Campaign run by the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, scheduled for summer 2017 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. This is an evolution of the close air support experimentation effort which we have now broadened to include a variety of counter-land missions typical of extended operations since Desert Storm.

This was said not a competition, nor a fly-off of any sort, and there was no acquisition program of record. The initial objective was to qualitatively evaluate the military utility of light attack platform industry concepts and to do that were evaluating the platforms against a set of operational measures of effectiveness. There are eight supporting objectives including: demonstrate system ability to find, fix, track and target; demonstrate data link interoperability, demonstrate weapons delivery and accuracy; demonstrate flight manual predictions and that they are accurate to aircraft performance; demonstrate the flying qualities and handling qualities; demonstrate systems functionality; observe aircraft suitability and determine the platform visual and aeroacoustics signatures.

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Page last modified: 02-12-2019 18:24:40 ZULU