The OA-X experiment: is there a future for light attack aircraft?

Do light attack aircraft have a fighting chance of mass mobilisation in the US Air Force (USAF)?

The debate over the benefits of using quicker, cheaper aircraft against low-priority targets versus the risk of sending pilots into permissive airspace in lightly armoured, propeller-driven planes has been raging since the Vietnam War ? yet military aviation experts are no closer to reaching a consensus.

The arguments for a fleet of light attack aircraft centre on cost and practicality. The air force regularly sends state-of-the-art jets such as the F-15, F-16 and F-22 on missions against the Taliban, Islamic State and other insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, none of which pose a serious aerial threat.