The plan for a Special Operations aircraft that would provide close air and overwatch support to American commandos is under question by Congress.

The idea for the Armed Overwatch program spawned from the need to provide sufficient platforms to support Special Operations troops and their partner forces in low-intensity conflict scenarios.

The inability of the Air Force to satisfactorily fulfill that role forced the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to come up with the idea of a Special Operations aircraft that would be tailored for and operated by its troops. More specifically, the fleet of around 75 aircraft would be operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). AFSOC is one of the four subordinate commands of SOCOM, the other being the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), and the Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC).

Earlier this year, USSOCOM released a solicitation for its Armed Overwatch program. “Armed Overwatch will provide Special Operations Forces (SOF) deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems fulfilling Close Air Support (CAS), Precision Strike, and SOF Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) in austere and permissive environments,” the solicitation read.