USAF to Award Light Attack Contract This Fall

An A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft arrives at Moody AFB, Ga., on April 24, 2018, for training with Afghan Air Force pilots. The Air Force recently posted a notice that Sierra Nevada qualifies for the possible purchase of a light attack aircraft, with a contract expected this fall. Textron Aviation is also a candidate in the program. Air Force photo by A1C Erick Requadt.

The Air Force will award a contract for light attack aircraft this fall after a formal solicitation expected this month, according to a presolicitation notice the service posted on May 8.

The Notice of Proposed Contract Action states that Sierra Nevada and its A-29 Super Tucano 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.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in March the service expects to buy six light attack aircraft, three from the Sierra-Nevada/Embraer team and three AT-6Bs from Textron Aviation. Another notification for Textron is expected.

According to the posting, the Light Attack Aircraft “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 will also support Air Force Special Operations Command’s mission of close air support to partner nations, according to the notification.

Goldfein told Air Force Magazine the AT-6s will be based at Nellis AFB, Nev., and the A-29s would be based at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

The six aircraft will be bought outright “so we can modify them anyway we want,” he said.

The funding would come from the $60 million remaining in fiscal 2018 RDT&E accounts and another $100 million from fiscal 2019 procurement.