The US Air Force’s New Light Fighter May See Combat Sooner Than Expected
Fighters in the United States Air Force come with a pretty hefty price tag and that has caused a lot of controversies. These jets on average cost upwards of $100 million and are often considered overkill again targets that have no chance against them. There is still a need to stop hostile threats but the Air Force is looking into less expensive light fighters.
The OA-X Light Attack aircraft program aims to find a cheaper alternative to the expensive planes used for wars. There are a few fighters in the running for the role including the Textron Scorpion, Sierra Nevada’s A-29 Super Tucano, Air Tractor AT-802U and the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6. These planes will be tested to find the one most suitable for smaller supporting roles in order to save costs from fighters such as the F-22 and F-35.
“The live-fly experiment will include the employment of commonly used fighter/attack aircraft weapons to assess non-developmental light attack aircraft capabilities relevant to traditional counter-land missions.”
– Captain Emily Grabowski (Air Force Spokeswoman)
While there is still some opposition to the Light Fighter program mainly from vocal supporters of the A-10 Warthog who wish to see it return to the production lines. The advantage to these fighters is that they have already been developed if a winner is chosen it could enter service to the US Air Force almost immediately.
“If we get good results, then we are laying in the planning to do a combat demonstration. We will take a couple of airplanes and employ them in an operational scenario in the fight to determine limitations.”
– Lieutenant General Arnold Bunch (Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force)
Many consider the Textron Scorpion to be the frontrunner in this competition with a low price tag of $20 million. Check out a demonstration of this light fighter candidate in this clip.