WASHINGTON — 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.