Small Wars Journal

U.S. Special Ops Command at Odds with Air Force Over Need for Light-Attack Aircraft

U.S. Special Ops Command at Odds with Air Force Over Need for Light-Attack Aircraft by Jen Judson and Valerie Insinna - Defense News

U.S. Special Operations Command is bullish at the prospect of buying a light-attack aircraft, according to the command’s top leaders — a marked contrast from the U.S. Air Force, which wants to expand the effort to other types of platforms.

The Air Force this year postponed a competition to provide light-attack aircraft. The service had evaluated offerings in 2017 and was set to release a request for proposals at the end of 2018.

The plan now is to continue with experimentation and broaden the scope of a possible program that might include rotorcraft, fixed-wing and unmanned options.

But while the Air Force considers whether it needs a light-attack capability, SOCOM Commander Gen. Richard Clarke said a light-attack platform is essential for its forces and the mission it serves.

“Light attack is a need for SOCOM, and I think it’s a need for our nation,” Clarke said during a House Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee hearing in April…

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