In The News: Is the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X Light Attack Aircraft Rally Going to Happen?

The National Interest, July 03, 2017 – The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has added $1.2 billion to the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X light attack/observation aircraft effort.

The service will be conducting an experiment this summer to determine if such an aircraft would be useful to perform missions over permissive airspace in place of much more expensive and capable fourth and fifth-generation fighters. The Air Force is expected to test four different aircraft types including Sierra Nevada’s A-29 Super Tucano, the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6, the Textron Scorpion Jet and the Air Tractor AT-802U during its experiment. The Senate—and particularly SASC chairman Sen. John McCain—wants to push the Air Force into buying a fleet of roughly 300 OA-X aircraft to help relieve the ever-increasing burden on the service’s tactical fighter fleet.