The Air Force is inviting contractors and designers to take part in an experiment aimed ultimately at developing a new light-attack platform for close-air support. Participants would take part in a live-fly experiment to be held sometime this summer at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Air Force personnel will fly off-the-shelf aircraft in scenarios replicating armed reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, strike control and reconnaissance, as well as close air support. The service now uses the A-10 Thunderbolt II for most close-air support missions, but wants to retire the aircraft. That effort has encountered significant resistance from sister services, particularly the Army and Marine Corps, which consider the A-10 the premier close air support platform in the Pentagon’s inventory.
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