Wright-Patt experiment narrows planes in future test flights


An Air Force experiment that pitted four light attack planes against one another over the skies of New Mexico has narrowed to two, the service branch said.

The Textron AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer Defense & Security’s A-29 Super Tuscano, both propeller-driven aircraft, will fly at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., between May and July this year.

The Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office at Wright-Patterson is overseeing the $6 million experiment.

RELATED: Air Force testing light-attack plane

Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet and L3’s and Air Tractor’s AT-802L Longsword also had been evaluated last summer at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., but will not be part of the next stage of the evaluation, the Air Force said.

Plans to test the planes in combat during the experiment were dropped. “At this time, we believe we have the right information to move forward with light attack, without conducting a combat demonstration,” Capt. Emily Grabowski, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in an email to this news outlet.

The experiments were meant to determine the cost to buy, operate and maintain the plane, if it can be mass produced quickly, and exported to other countries.

RELATED: Wright-Patt to oversee light-attack plane tests in New Mexico

“Will the U.S.A.F. get any?” asked Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with Virginia-based Teal Group. “It would make the U.S. unique, as a wealthy country operating a plane commonly found in countries where the threats are as low as the budgets. You can’t rule that out. On the other hand, not including a combat testing phase seems to indicate a relatively low priority for this.”

RELATED: ‘We’re not moving fast enough,’ Air Force leader says

The Air Force has searched for a low cost alternative to flying expensive fighter and attack aircraft in lower threat environments for a potential buy in the future.

“If all we’re doing is making circles in the air and waiting for a call to drop weapons, you won’t have to do it at tens of thousands of dollars per hour operating costs,” Ravi Penmetsa, a Wright-Patterson-based project official, said in an interview last year.

In the next step of the experiment, the Air Force will evaluate maintenance and logistics demands, weapons and sensors, training scenarios, and ability to operate jointly with other countries, among a list of test goals.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Military

Kasich declares emergency over Ohio flooding
Kasich declares emergency over Ohio flooding

Gov. John Kasich issued an emergency declaration today for 17 counties in southern and eastern Ohio affected by flooding amid continued downpours. The  emergency declaration allows the governor to use state resources, including activating the National Guard. Counties affected are Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana...
Veterans Memorial Park in Springfield makes progress on $450K upgrades
Veterans Memorial Park in Springfield makes progress on $450K upgrades

A recent donation from a Springfield group is helping Veterans Memorial Park’s progress in 2018. The overall cost to make improvements at Veterans Memorial Park is an estimated $450,000 and about $380,000 remains to be raised based on contractors. RELATED: Veterans Memorial Park to receive $400,000 upgrade “The donation makes a huge impact...
Wright-Patt training exercise sets off booms
Wright-Patt training exercise sets off booms

If you heard a loud noise today at Wright-Patterson, it was all part of training, a base spokesman says. The Dayton Daily News and News Center 7 were contacted by residents inquiring what was the cause of the explosion. A Wright-Patterson Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb squad was scheduled to set off three explosions between noon and 4 p.m. Wednesday...
Work to start next month on $10.5 million Wright-Patt gateway
Work to start next month on $10.5 million Wright-Patt gateway

A new $10.5 million gateway that will consolidate two Wright-Patterson entrances into one is set to begin construction next month, a base spokesman says. A new Gate 26A, a few hundred yards from the current one, would replace a commercial delivery entrance at Gate 16A off Ohio 444, and the existing Gate 26A off Ohio 235 near the entrance to the 445th...
Top Gun pilot to speak at film screening
Top Gun pilot to speak at film screening

A real-life Top Gun is scheduled to be at a screening of Top Gun 3D at the Air Force Museum Theatre. Retired Navy Capt. Ken Ginader, a former Top Gun instructor and F-14 pilot, was set to speak at the screening of film, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Doors open at 6 p.m. Ginader is the first speaker in the 2018 Living History Film Series at the...
More Stories