The Air Force Has Announced the Two Finalists to Replace the A-10 Warthog
On Friday, the Air Force announced that it has narrowed down the list of candidate planes to potentially serve as its new light attack aircraft. The finalists were selected after extensive testing and review, including the Light Attack Experiment that took place last August. Now, the pair of airplanes will go through additional testing to determine a winner.
Ultimately, the US Air Force has determined that Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano have the kind of potential the military branch is hoping to find.
This summer, both aircraft will go through a battery of tests at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, though a combat demonstration is not part of this examination.
“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 aircraft – the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in a statement.
“This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement.”
The testing, scheduled to be conducted between May and July, is anticipated to provide the Air Force with the information it requires to identify which option best meets their needs, effectively determining which aircraft will be awarded the contract.
The intention behind the Light Attack Experiment, according to a report by the Washington Examiner, was to identify an inexpensive and light aircraft to assist in battles against insurgents and provide close-air support, similar to the role of the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Originally, the experiment involved four aircraft, with all of them competing in New Mexico to determine which options were most viable and capable.
Along with Air Force observers, certain international partners have also been invited to view the upcoming light aircraft tests involving the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano.
“A light attack aircraft would not only provide relief to our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, but also bolster out interoperability, so we can more effectively employ airpower as part of an international team,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein in a statement.