The Nondevelopmental Option

The Air Force’s new Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office could carry out experiments to determine whether it makes sense for the Air Force to buy nondevelopmental light attack aircraft in the future, Director Jack Blackhurst told Air Force Magazine. Blackhurst said the experiment was the first the office began planning after it started operating in the spring, but it is on hold until Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein gives the go ahead. Blackhurst said the experiment would involve vendors running their aircraft through test objectives at Holloman AFB, N.M. The results would then be sent to Air Force planners for them to determine whether the concept is feasible. Blackhurst said the service could conceivably then go out and purchase 100 to 200 aircraft within the next five years. “That could have a dramatic impact on capability and readiness in terms of not only providing systems in permissive environments, but also opening cockpits for training,” he said. (See also: Permissive CAS Plane Plan.)