TacAir News and Views

First Live Close Air Support Sorties

September 2013 – Tactical Air Support, Inc. (TacAir) demonstrated a critical capability that opens the door for truly cost-effective, live Contracted Close Air Support (CCAS). Flying the Alenia SF-260TP light attack aircraft, TacAir was able to provide a turnkey CCAS solution. With contractor-provided bomb racks, Mk 76 practice bombs with spotting charges, and Original Equipment Manufacturer weapon’s clearances, TacAir operated from a civil airfield under Public Aircraft Operations and delivered light inert munitions on a government bombing range. The TacAir pilot for these sorties, Eric Fippinger, is no stranger to Close Air Support, having recent combat experience as an F/A-18 pilot (and 3d MAW Forward Deputy Wing Commander) in Afghanistan.

Pasted Graphic 1
SF-260TP Coming Off Target at USAF Dare County Range

With the increased need for precision air support in military operations around the globe, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) are more and more in demand. As training and currency requirements for these critical individuals grow, the ability of the military to provide air assets to help train them (such as F-16s, A-10s and F/A-18s) has decreased, resulting in a training gap. TacAir has been working to provide a solution for some time.

TacAir also flies live CAS in the only Embraer A-29 Super Tucano in North America. The Super Tucano is the most capable CCAS aircraft in the industry. It was selected as the USAF Light Attack Support (LAS) aircraft to equip the Afghan Air Force. TacAir is the only commercial provider flying with approved Original Equipment Manufacturer ordnance release authority.

- By Gerry Gallop (Tactical Air Support, Inc.)

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