combat aircraft

(Axel Boer) #1


HE USAF HAS narrowed
its plans for acquiring a
new light attack aircraft
and will conduct a full
and open competition
before making its selection.
Under the terms of its August 3 pre-
solicitation notice, the service will
award a production contract to either
the Sierra Nevada Corporation or
Textron Aviation by September 2019.
The two contractors will respectively
o er the Embraer A-29B/EMB-
Super Tucano and AT-6C Wolverine
to the USAF. They were identi ed in

the request as the only  rms able to
‘meet the requirement within the air
force’s timeframe without causing an
unacceptable delay in meeting the
needs of the war ghter.’ The service
currently expects to issue a formal
solicitation in December 2018 if the
project is approved as a program
of record.
The USAF learned a great deal about
the two aircraft while conducting its
multi-phase Light Attack Experiment.
It evaluated several di erent aircraft
before reducing the  eld to the
A-29B and AT-6C for the most recent

phase. According to the notice, the
light attack aircraft will ‘provide an
a ordable, non-developmental
aircraft intended to operate
globally in the types of irregular
warfare environments that have
characterized combat operations
over the past 25 years.’
Although the latest experiment
was suspended prematurely
following the fatal crash of
an A-29B on June 22, the service
has been using collected data
to continue its evaluations
and analysis.

Pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron fi red the
F-35A’s internal GAU-22/A 25mm internal cannon for the fi rst time
during operational training on August 13. The strafi ng runs were carried
out by a two-ship fl ight of Lightning IIs over two sets of ground targets
on the Utah Test and Training Range. USAF/Todd Cromar

Despite the formal system development and demonstration phase
having been completed, F-35 testing continues at pace. F-35C test
aircraft CF-05 here takes fuel from an F/A-18F operated by air test
and evaluation squadron VX-23 during an advanced aerial refueling
control law test over the Atlantic Test Range near NAS Patuxent River,
Maryland, on June 26. US Navy/Dane Wiedmann

Seen on August 1 during a refueling stop at McClellan Field in
Sacramento, California, Montana ANG C-130H serial 74-1691 from the
‘Vigilantes’ of the 120th Airlift Wing has the addition of the numbers
‘3-7-77’ on its rudder. These numbers refer to the history of the fi rst
vigilantes to provide law enforcement to otherwise lawless regions.
There are several different meanings that have been associated with
‘3-7-77’, but the most popular version is that it refers to the dimensions
of a grave that the vigilantes sent many outlaws to. Jim Dunn

US Marine Corps EA-6Bs of VMAQ-2 ‘Death Jesters’ are leading the
way right to the end as the fi nal Prowler squadron. The unit has been
deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar, since the spring in support of Operation
‘Inherent Resolve’ despite its scheduled inactivation in March 2019.
Recent imagery released by CENTCOM shows the squadron in action.
It is likely to be supporting the operation by monitoring and jamming
enemy communications. USAF/SSgt Keith James






TEN F/A18CS FROM strike  ghter
squadron VFA-34 operated from the
aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson for
the last time during the recent 2018
‘Rim of the Paci c’ exercise. The ‘Blue
Blasters’ completed the US Navy’s
 nal deployment with the ‘legacy’
Hornets in April 2018 and will
begin transitioning to the F/A-18E
in January 2019. The squadron
had  own the F/A-18C since it
transitioned from the Grumman
A-6E Intruder in 1996. US Marine
Corps F/A-18Cs will continue to
support carrier deployments for the
foreseeable future.

UNITED STATES [NEWS] // October 2018 11

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