Budget-conscious Air Force Looking at VLJs

 - November 22, 2006, 5:47 AM

Manufacturers of very light jets had until early this month to respond to a U.S. Air Force VLJ-capability request for information (RFI). While the military branch hasn’t yet opened its wallet to actually buy any of the small jets, it wants to perform qualification evaluations of the various offerings by year-end. “The intent of the qual evals is to investigate VLJ aircraft characteristics for potential AF missions,” the RFI states. Specifically, the USAF wants to assess “military utility for specific missions that the VLJ class may be suited to perform, including passenger/cargo transport, navigation training, transition training, homeland defense, surveillance and target tow.” All of the VLJ manufacturers are believed to have responded, though only Aviation Technology Group, Cessna, Eclipse and Adam Aircraft would go on record as saying they’ve submitted information. A VLJ final report is due to be sent to the Secretary of the Air Force on May 1.