COIN Attack Plane Not Til Next Year

The Air Force looks as if it has punted the establishment of a COIN Wing (though we’ll see when the authorization process starts) based on its budget submission yesterday. 

Air Force budget officials said the so-called “light attack aircraft” would not have any significant funding until the 2012 submission, where the service will allot $172 million for the so-called COIN plane. 

The Air Force did, however, take a step toward a COIN wing by ordering up 15 Light Mobility Aircraft to the tune of nearly $66 million. According to a submission to FedBizOpps, the LiMA must be able to carry a minimum of six pax and crew, operate from “austere landing surfaces” and carry a minimum of 1800 pounds with crew. The plane needs a loading door that can take litters and a 36 inch warehouse skid and have two pilot stations but be able to be flown by one pilot. 

The Air Force is budgeting for these planes in FY 2011 only. And part of the idea behind the plane is to help train other air forces during counterinsurgency operations. 

The Light Mobility Aircraft (LiMA) program will acquire Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) aircraft to satisfy the USAF light mobility mission requirement. These aircraft will be suitable for building partner capacity (BPC) especially in lesser developed partner nations (PN). This program supports irregular warfare efforts that help prepare PN to defend and govern themselves by demonstrating an airlift capability that is consistent with their needs for supporting infrastructure, performance, anticipated methods of employment, acquisition and sustainment costs, and multi-role/multi-mission capability. 

— Christian 

  • Charley

    Curious how they would “ground handle” that 36″ pallet - brute force? I was thinking a Cessna Caravan or a Gippsland GA8, but the Cessna is fairly high off the ground and the GA8 might be too small…

    • FormerDirtDart

      You are probably not going to be loading 36″ pallets at austere strips, just off-loading, which can be handled by breaking the pallet down.
      I think the Caravan or the Porter are the main serious contenders for the LiMA procurement,both aircraft are currently used in militarized versions

  • chrisram

    The AF will fight having to adopt this type aircraft tooth and nail. In fact I would bet my bottom dollar they never do.

  • pedestrian

    The ultimate low cost combination: OV-10X Super Branco+APKWS II/DAGR

  • DualityOfMan

    It’s good that it’s off the shelf… otherwise I wouldn’t expect it to go into service before 2030.

  • jsallison

    Yeah but in 2030, it’ll be stealthy, supercruise capable and able to attain and sustain air supremacy over any combination of 4 or fewer 2d world nations. And at an estimated 97.4 million a copy it’ll also help feed the families of the GenBoeDouLockMart consortium who would then vote ‘appropriately’.

    • Dave

      priceless :)

  • Wade Whitlock

    Do what the Corps did. The Army needs aircraft for ground support flown by Army personnel trained in ground ops. Take the mission from the blue suiters and put it where it belongs. The AF has never been interested in mud movers, they aren’t as sexy as wild blue fighters or SAC bombers.

    Anybody look at the OV-10 Bronco? It has cargo capability and carries a considerable load of whupass besides. Makes a fair FAC, too.

  • ohwilleke

    Are these planed armed or do they just carry cargo and passengers? The original post is ambiguous.

    • FormerDirtDart

      The original article addresses to different classes of aircraft. So, you answer is yes, and no. The “light attack aircraft” will of course be armed, thus the “attack” in the designation. The” Light Mobility Aircraft” (LiMA) will in all likelihood not be armed, it’s a small cargo plane.
      COIN air operations are often mistakenly thought of as merely close air support and air interdiction operations. COIN air ops will in fact be a measured mix of attack, ISR, light rapid air mobility assets.

  • Tesla_x

    Bring back the P-51.

    Heck, bring back SANDY!

    Just use modern materials and avionics…

  • SkysoldierRecon

    i was thinking OV-10 Bronco too…

  • SkysoldierRecon

    no we need to spend millions. its the american way…God help us…