Or did they?
It appears that their “interest” was all for show and they have no intention of acquiring a small, simple, prop plane.
The Air Force won’t issue a Request For Information on possible Light Attack aircraft, originally scheduled to come out December, in favor of doing a lot more experiments, Air Force Undersecretary Matt Donovan told reporters this morning. (1)
“I wouldn’t expect an RFI any time soon,” Donovan told [Breaking Defense]. (1)
We know exactly what the candidate aircraft can do. There’s nothing left to “experiment” with. This is just the Air Force’s way of saying they have no intention of purchasing anything less than a state of the art, front line, jet aircraft. This is the Air Force’s not very subtle, “screw you”, to everyone who suggested a prop plane.
Okay, this is interesting in a disappointing way but, let’s be honest, not all that much of a surprise, is it? The Air Force doesn’t want the A-10, the best close air support aircraft ever built so it’s not likely they’re going to run right out and buy a prop plane for ground support, right?
So, this is a pathetic development from the Air Force but, hey, this is a Navy blog so why do we care? Well, you may recall that ComNavOps has proposed a two-tier, peace-war force structure (see, "Hi-Lo, War-Peace") and has suggested that a very simple carrier, quite similar to a WWII Essex, combined with a basic prop plane air wing would take care of the vast majority of our peacetime ground support requirements. I was hoping that the Air Force’s selection of a prop plane would pave the way for a Navy prop plane. Unfortunately, this now appears to not be the case. The Navy is going to continue to use up flight hours on already overstressed front line aircraft carrying out
Seriously, a Chinese agent couldn’t sabotage our military as badly as we’re doing to ourselves!