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The US Air Force has recently released an industry Invitation to participate in an evaluation experiment of the military utility for light attack platforms in the future force structure. The invitation is part of a broader Air Force effort to explore cost-effective attack platform options, According to an Air Force announcement mentioned on

The live-fly experiment is an element of the Light Attack Capabilities Experimentation Campaign run by the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office.

Industry members are invited to participate in the experiment using any aircraft that meets the Air Force’s need for a low-cost capability that is supportable and sustainable and will be tested in scenarios designed to highlight aspects of various combat missions, such as close air support, armed reconnaissance, combat search & rescue and strike control & reconnaissance. After the experiment, the Air Force will analyze data received from vendors seeking to participate in the experimentation campaign and will then invite selected firms to take part in further assessments during the summer.

“After 25 years of continuous combat operations, our Air Force is in more demand than ever,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements.

“Since we don’t expect deployment requirements to decrease, we have to look for innovative and affordable ways to meet capability demands in permissive environments while building and maintaining readiness to meet emerging threats in more contested environments,” Harris added.

The live-fly experimentation will include a number of mission events including medium altitude basic day and night surface attack, precision munition surface attack, armed reconnaissance and close air support. “This is an experiment, not a competition,” said Harris, emphasizing the event may not necessarily lead to any acquisition.

Experimentation and prototyping are envisioned as pathways to identify new operational concepts and candidate capabilities which can be rapidly and affordably fielded.

The results of the Light Attack Capabilities Experimentation Campaign will be used to inform requirements and criteria for future investment decisions.