Schwartz Clarifies LAAR

The primary reason why the Air Force is pursuing the light attack armed reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft is to have the capability resident in its general-purpose echelons to build partnership capacity with allied air forces, says Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. Speaking Thursday at a Center for National Policy-sponsored event in Washington, D.C., Schwartz said LAAR will give the service the ability to transfer the skills for operating light attack airplanes to the airmen of maturing air forces in partner nations. The Air Force plans to choose the industry supplier this November and buy 15 LAAR airframes in Fiscal 2011. While the Air Force isn’t looking at LAAR to perform close air support in its own ranks, the service has identified “a limited need” for a light platform to serve in that role, said Schwartz. Accordingly, Air Combat Command is pursuing a concept called OA-X.