USAF Light Attack

Air Force requests 100 light-attack planes

The USAF put out a request for information about procuring up to 100 light attack/recon aircraft.

Specifications call for the plane to have two seats, four positions for weapons or external fuel tanks and an onboard laser designator. The plane must also have the ability to carry a minimum of two 500-pound bombs, launch 2.75-inch rockets and fire a gun.

They should have issued this RFI about ten years ago.

I think that prop-driven planes will always be the first to come to mind here, and I’ve long argued that such planes could do a lot of good in today’s environment. However, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if something along the lines of a modernized A-37 Dragonfly with upgraded engines might not be in order.

Meanwhile, the T-37 Tweet, upon which the Dragonfly was based, has just been retired.


  1. Not to be snarky, but other than the two seat requirement, how does this differ much from an A-10?

  2. It will be a much smaller/lighter plane than the A-10, and turbo-prop. Think of the Super Tucano. 😉

  3. OK, so lighter than an A-10 is probably a good thing. Slower, maybe sometimes a good thing, sometimes surely not. And I guess in theory they could be cheaper. And probably easier to learn to fly and maintain. But also I’d expect them to be a lot less survivable.

    And I’m not against such a thing at all. My curiosity is kind of related to the current F-22 situation, where once you shut down a production line, it’s basically done for good.

    So I guess my question really is, if we could still produce the A-10, would the Air Force still be looking for these? Or would they just order up another 100 A-10’s and be perfectly satisfied?

  4. Amen to the Spad. It would do wonders here — not that A10s aren’t fantastic. But long duration, cheap/easy to maintain, carrys a good bomb load … that’s money.

    Even if we don’t fly them outselves, we could make a great Afghan air force out of them.

  5. You’d have to find a way to replace the big Wright with a turboprop. 130/100 LL avgas is not that easy to find out in the boonies where these things will fight, but Jet A or everyday diesel/kerosene is everywhere.

  6. A p-47 will do most everything the air force wants and more. Anyway, this is a really stupid idea. Reapers and Predators would be far superior to any such light fighters. If there is any real threat these crates would be pulled.

    This is pretty much a way to put out of work pilots in the air.

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