Military Aviation


The news comes as a blow for joint venture Textron AirLand’s five-year-old campaign to win the endorsement of the USAF for the company-funded Scorpion

As reported by Flight Global, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has excluded the Textron AirLand Scorpion light-attack aircraft from the next phase of its OA-X experiment, leaving Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano as the finalists for a potential follow-on acquisition deal.

The news comes as a blow for joint venture Textron AirLand’s five-year-old campaign to win the endorsement of the USAF for the company-funded Scorpion, a twinjet designed to perform as a light-attack and observation platform.

A Beechcraft AT-6 experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Jul. 31.

“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,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in a service news release. “This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement.”

Further experimentation will examine logistics and maintenance requirements, weapons and sensor issues, training syllabus validity, networking and future interoperability with partner forces. The USAF will also experiment with rapidly building and operating an exportable, affordable network to enable aircraft to communicate with joint and multi-national forces, as well as command-and-control nodes.

An Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano A-29 experimental aircraft drops a bomb over White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Aug. 4.

“This effort to find a lower-cost and exportable aircraft for permissive environments is directly in line with the National Defense Strategy,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein. “A light attack aircraft would not only provide relief to our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, but also bolster our interoperability, so we can more effectively employ airpower as an international team.”

As we have previously explained Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas, director of Air Force public affairs, told that OA-X program is aimed to find a cheaper close air support (CAS) platform that would be needed to perform the mission over permissive environments which don’t require F-22 or F-35 stealth fighters. However it must be noted that OA-X program is not focused on finding an aircraft to replace the venerable A-10 Thunderbolt II but rather on finding a light attack aircraft to complement the Hog in CAS missions.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. A-10C Thunderbolt II 23d W, 74th FS Flying Tigers, FT/80-144. Moody AFB, GA – 2011

Photo credit: Textron AirLand and U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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