OA-X Will Be Additional, Not a Replacement For Current Squadrons

The Air Force’s possible new close air support platform, which is currently scheduled for a demonstration by industry, will only be in addition to the current force structure level and will not include any cuts to current squadrons, the service’s operations chief said. Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the deputy chief of staff for operations, said during an Air Force Association Mitchell Institute event in Arlington, Va., that the demonstration – currently deemed OA-X – is “absolutely additive” and “will not subtract from 55 fighter squadrons.” The service is looking to work with Air Force Special Operations Command to develop the aircraft to focus on conventional and unconventional airpower specifically looking at counterterrorism. The service released an “invitation to participate” to industry for the experiment, looking for current airframes that can be used for close air support in an uncontested environment.