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A-29 Super Tucano crashes during light attack experiment

A Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano crashed in New Mexico on 22 June while participating in a month-old light attack experiment, a US Air Force spokesman confirms.

Both USAF crew members ejected during the 11:45am incident and one crew member sustained minor injuries. No information on the status of the second crew member was available as of 6:25 pm in New Mexico on 22 June.

The A-29 crew was based at Holloman AFB, but the crash occurred about 56nm (105km) north at the Red Rio Bombing Range, a 79,300 hectare (196,000 acre) area within the White Sands Missile Range.

An investigation into the cause of the incident remains ongoing.

The crash comes about five weeks after the USAF kicked off the second phase of the light attack experiment at Holloman AFB on 17 May.

In addition to the A-29, Textron Aviation provided a AT-6 Wolverine for the USAF to evaluate during the experiment.

Both aircraft also participated in the first light attack experiment held at Holloman last July, along with Textron Aviation’s Scorpion jet.

The USAF plans to make a decision about proceeding with a proposal to buy potentially hundreds of light attack fighters after evaluating the data gathered during this experiment.

The evaluation began with the first phase of the experiment last year, allowing the USAF to become acquainted with the capabilities of each aircraft.

As the second phase began last month, USAF officials described the objective as learning more about how to connect such aircraft to the military's intelligence networks and supporting the aircraft in the field.

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