Fighter jets don’t come cheap. Many of these aircraft have cost upwards of $100 million and the US Air Force has begun to seek cheaper alternatives. Over the course of the past year many aircraft joined the OA-X light fighter program but now the final two candidates have been revealed.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have a $100 million F-35 shoot up hostile militants in a rusty truck. Nor does there appear to be much hope for starting up another line of A-10 Thunderbolt II, which ranks as the top CAS aircraft. Thus the light fighter program will be used as a way to deter hostile threats in uncontested air spaces.
Many aircraft were tested along the way as the competition commenced but now it is down to the final two.
“Rather than do a combat demonstration, we have decided to work closely with industry to experiment with maintenance, data networking and sensors with the two most promising light attack aircraft — the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano.”
– Heather Wilson (Air Force Secretary)
The AT-6 and the A-29 are the final candidates in this competition. Fortunately, Secretary Wilson’s experience as an A-10 pilot gives her great insight into the US Air Force’s needs towards close air support and keeping things within budget.