Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. Seamans, Jr., announced today the selection of Fairchild?
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Background: Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. Seamans, Jr., announced today the selection of Fairchild Industries, Inc. for full-scale development of the Air Force A-X Specialized Close Air Support aircraft. The Fairchild A-10 was selected after a competitive flight evaluation with the Northrop A-9 aircraft.
A cost plus incentive fee contract will be negotiated with Fairchild Industries, Inc. which will authorize them to build ten preproduction A-10 aircraft for further Air Force flight testing with an initial production option. Following these tests and after the successful demonstration of the GAU-8A 30mm gun system for the A-X, a decision as to initial production will be made. A full production decision would not be made until late 1975. The Air Force also will negotiate a fixed price-incentive fee contract, with a production option, with the General Electric Company to provide engines for the first ten A-10 aircraft.
The decision in selecting the A-10 was based on numerous factors. These included review of data from the flight test program conducted at the Air Force Flight Test Centre, Edward AFB, California, and the evaluation of each contractor's proposal which included cost information on a proposed first buy of 48 production aircraft plus life cycle costs of the proposed aircraft.
Both Fairchild Industries, Inc. and the Northrop Corp. were selected to compete in the prototype development phase of the A-X competition in December 1970. Each contractor built, tested and delivered to the Air Force two prototype models in accordance with the "fly-before-buy" procurement approach.
Following the first flight of each prototype in May, each contractor conducted an extensive flight evaluation program prior to turning over the prototypes to the Air Force in October. Experienced and combat veteran fighter pilots from both the developing command, Systems Command and the ultimate using command, Tactical Air Command, then flew the prototypes during the Air Force flight evaluation which was completed in early December.