The Navy, especially the Naval Special Warfare community, is getting pretty damn tired with the Air Force dragging its feet on the Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance program. And they may go it alone.
Lockheed Martin and Hawker-Beechcraft are considering pitching its AT-6B light-attack counterinsurgency plane for the upcoming Navy-led Combat Dragon II program, according to sources familiar with the effort.
The Navy recently shifted over $17 million into the Combat Dragon II program, designed to prove that a small, turboprop-driven aircraft can be used for “high end/special aviation” missions in Afghanistan.
The LAARA wouldn’t be a replacement for the dedicated strike jets of the services. But it would give a niche capability to provide manned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Close Air Support (CAS) to troops on the ground at relatively low cost.