Yesterday Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh called the proposal to test the F-35 against the A-10 for close air support missions a “silly exercise.” He claimed no one in the Air Force has ever said the F-35 would replace the A-10 in the critical role of close air support.
“So the idea that the F-35 is going to walk in the door next year when it becomes IOC and take over for the A-10 is just silly. It’s never been our intention and we have never said that,” said Welsh. Perhaps he has forgotten we live in the age of Google.
From September 18, 2013:
Gen. Welsh on the A-10, “If we have multiple-mission airplanes that can do the mission – maybe not as well, but reasonably well – you would look at eliminating the single-mission platform.”
He said this in February 2015:
"We have to look at different ways to do the close air support mission with new airplanes like the F-35."
From May 1, 2015:
“Air Force officials have consistently maintained that other aircraft, including the developing F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, will be able to perform close-air support missions.”
From the Joint Strike Fighter’s official website:
“The F-35 is designed to replace aging fighter inventories including U.S. Air Force A-10s and F-16s, U.S. Navy F/A-18s, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s, and U.K. Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers. With stealth and a host of next-generation technologies, the F-35 will be far and away the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter. There exists an aging fleet of tactical aircraft worldwide. The F-35 will solve that problem.”
General Welsh should bear in mind this is the information age…