Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Air Force has completed an initial proposal for its light attack aircraft from Sierra Nevada/Embraer and Textron Aviation as part of the second phase of the program.
The final request for proposal release is expected by December, the Air Force said in a release Monday. Officials still need to finalize equipment and determine development timelines for the last request for proposal.
"We must develop the capacity to combat violent extremism at lower cost," Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a statement. She added that the light attack aircraft "offers an option to increase the Air Force capacity beyond what we now have in our inventory or budget," according to Wilson.
Wilson said the Air Force completed several tests with different models and has confirmed the light attack aircraft program is going forward.
"We're where we're at today because both Congress and our industry partners understood the need to find ways to get capabilities to our warfighters faster," she said.
Test pilots flew the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine over the last summer to help determine which model will be chosen for domestic purchase and export.
Light planes like the A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine are being proposed for attack roles in the U.S. and allied air forces. Their relatively low cost and ease of maintenance make them suited for continuous counterinsurgency roles when there is little advanced anti-aircraft resistance expected.
They are capable of carrying weapons like .50-caliber machine guns, rockets and other ordnances.