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Old 02-17-2020, 18:29   #1
7624U
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SOCOM Announces Plans to Buy 75 ‘Armed Overwatch’ Planes

https://www.airforcemag.com/socom-an...rwatch-planes/

US Special Operations Command is moving forward with its armed overwatch plan, independent of the Air Force’s light attack experiment, inviting industry for a briefing on a proposal to buy an estimated 75 aircraft.

SOCOM will hold Industry Days March 4-5 for the Armed Overwatch program, which will “provide Special Operations Forces deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems” that will be used for “close air support, precision strike, and SOF intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in austere and permissive environments,” according to a Feb. 3 announcement.

SOCOM plans to release a draft Other Transaction Authority prototype demonstration proposal, which gives the military a way to pursue research and prototyping outside of regular contracts, on Feb. 14. The eventual follow-on contract is expected to be an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, with a base ordering period of five years and another option for two more years with an expected total of 75 aircraft, according to the announcement, which was first reported by Aviation Week.

Will Roper, the service’s acquisition boss, said in November the light attack experiment could split into an effort for armed overwatch as special operations forces have called for the service to address a pressing need for more protection from the air—a shift away from the original intent of the light attack experiment.

“There are systems right now that we don’t really think of as being in the [US Special Operations Command] portfolio, like MQ-9s, that we’d like to explore and see, can they do a better job?” Roper told reporters. “Experimentation with systems we have now, I think is a great way to try to go after that role.”

The Air Force in October 2019 announced plans to purchase small numbers of AT-6 and A-29 aircraft as part of its light attack experiment. While the AT-6s will go to Air Combat Command for tactics development, Air Force Special Operations Command will use the A-29s to create an instructor pilot program for those who advise foreign nations on air warfare.

The slow process of the experiment, which started in 2017 with evaluations of the aircraft, along with Air Tractor and L3Harris’ AT-802 Longsword at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to procurement has frustrated some lawmakers. Some called for legislation to give procurement authority to SOCOM if the Air Force doesn’t buy a fleet of the aircraft.

While the adopted fiscal 2020 defense policy bill does not force that shift, it does encourage both the Air Force and SOCOM to “maximize efficiency and effectiveness and to further the mission requirements of both forces” by giving SOCOM funding to buy aircraft.
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Old 02-17-2020, 18:51   #2
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Flying 'Spads' again....they work.
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Old 02-18-2020, 13:45   #3
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Who's going to fly them? Does anyone think the Services will willingly give up (or train more) pilots simply to scratch SOCOM's itch?
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Old 02-18-2020, 15:15   #4
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Yes, that was my question.
Where in the Army TO&E do you put aircraft, flight crews, fuel, maintenance and armament people without creating a Army Air Corps sized unit.
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Old 02-18-2020, 15:52   #5
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SOCOM will find a place to hide it.

If SOCOM can find money to spend on a solution, they will find a problem.
This will be no different.
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Old 02-18-2020, 16:17   #6
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Yes, that was my question.
Where in the Army TO&E do you put aircraft, flight crews, fuel, maintenance and armament people without creating a Army Air Corps sized unit.
Beside the Apaches?


...SOCOM needs Apaches too... 25 should do it to start.


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Old 02-18-2020, 21:04   #7
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Hide it under AFSOC, a subordinate command

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Old 02-18-2020, 22:43   #8
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I have Army MC-12s flying over my head every day. I promise you those guys would jump at the chance to fly CAS. Maintenance on the mentioned aircraft, except the AT-6, would be much easier than the helos. Not even sure why the AT-6, a radial, is in the mix. All of the others are turbines. The Air Tractor is an crop duster.
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Old 02-19-2020, 07:37   #9
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The Tucano is light on the armament and ammunition loadout as well.

Not anything near what the Skyraider could carry.

TR
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:56   #10
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The Tucano is light on the armament and ammunition loadout as well.

Not anything near what the Skyraider could carry.

TR
The Tucano also lacks speed and range/loiter. (But it's a sexy toy that pilots love to play with!)
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Old 02-20-2020, 13:03   #11
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TRIPLE A:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSB View Post
Yes, that was my question.
Where in the Army TO&E do you put aircraft, flight crews, fuel, maintenance and armament people without creating a Army Air Corps sized unit.
ARMED AIR AMERICA/ POPE FIELD..!!! WHERE DOES THE 3 LETTER AGENCY HAVE THEIR AIR ASSETS ?
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Old 02-20-2020, 14:32   #12
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I see they’ve dusted off the OV-10s already. The other day I watched a nice controlled strike by one of these smaller aircraft, looked effective for that mission set. They had to visually identify the hostiles, locations of friendlies, had an expedient ROE in place, launched a single and accurate strike ......job complete .
Similar if not the same program, OV-10: https://m.*******.com/watch?v=2gP8sqgqEFw

https://www.popularmechanics.com/mil...tack-aircraft/
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Old 02-20-2020, 20:40   #13
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Munitions are much smarter today than in Skyraider days but drones can deliver them. The only thing I see these bringing is guns and rockets. But, youse guys could easily learn to fly them. Another tool in the kit.
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:42   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razor View Post
Who's going to fly them? Does anyone think the Services will willingly give up (or train more) pilots simply to scratch SOCOM's itch?
What if you didn't need a pilot?

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as an example: Northrop Grumman X-47B

The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2015, its two active demonstrators have undergone extensive flight and operational integration testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations.[3][4] In August 2014, the US Navy announced that it had integrated the X-47B into carrier operations alongside manned aircraft,[5] and by May 2015 the aircraft's primary test program was declared complete.[6][7][8][9] The X-47B demonstrators themselves were intended to become museum exhibits after the completion of their flight testing, but the Navy later decided to maintain them in flying condition pending further development.
These puppies were built for CAS. They have a flight duration of OVER 24hrs. They didn't need a kid in an airconditioned bunker to fly. They are autonomous from lunch to landing.

And with the addition of an in-house CTT MOS (or MOS school, like HALO), every team could have builtin CAS.

Packaged with modern smart bomb technology and ground base target designators,, Ba Da Boom.

Now that the AF has the Space Cadets, they will shift their celestial sights to the heavens and leave the terra firma grunts to themselves.


My $00..000002
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:16   #15
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What if you didn't need a pilot?
I agree that drone capabilities are pretty impressive, but the original article specified manned aircraft systems.
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