Did "Gold Plated" Requirements Doom Air Force Light Attack Plane?

A rep from an aircraft builder that was hoping to compete a plane for a notional Air Force light strike wing emailed last night saying Air Force chief Gen. Norton Schwartz's shooting down of the idea was not entirely unexpected:

"As with most Air Force aircraft we kept seeing the requirements become "gold plated" - ejection seat only, pressurized cockpit, retractable gear, HOTAS, HUD, fully integrated (non commercial/COTS) cockpit, Helmet Mounted Sight, and on and on...

Bottom line is that the requirements process and the price up from certain manufacturers was driving this to a $20 million aircraft. Cheaper to overhaul old F-16's out of the boneyard.

In my humble opinion General Schwartz made a very wise political move because he was backed into a corner. The requirements were driving towards the Super Tucano and he could see that if that aircraft won he would be trapped in an Airbus tanker, General Buzz Moseley repeat."

-- Greg Grant

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