USAF Calling on Industry for CAS Support

Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Sen. John McCain’s plan to procure 300 light support aircraft to provide close air support in a permissive environment is a “great idea.” In fact, the Air Force is in the middle of an experiment, calling on industry to provide proposals to offer commercial, off-the-shelf aircraft that can handle just that, Goldfein said Wednesday at an American Enterprise Institute event in Washington, D.C. As the Air Force’s commitment to the counterterrorism campaign in the Middle East continues to evolve, the service needs to look at how it prosecutes the fight, said Goldfein. To sustain and build readiness over time, USAF must “look at new ways of doing business in the future,” he added. Goldfein said he expects several companies to come forward with low-cost proposals to perform the mission of close air support in a permissive environment. Having more aircraft to conduct this mission means other aircraft better suited to a high-level fight, such as the F-22, can focus on building readiness for that mission.