The US Air Force will reportedly ship perfectly good F-16s to the desert — and potentially slow down the F-35 program — if it is forced to keep the A-10 beyond the date it wants it retired:
The House Armed Services Committee inserted $683 million into the 2016 defense bill to stop the Air Force from retiring the A-10 Warthog.
However, Air Force leaders said the service will have to mothball F-16s and delay the deployment of the F-35 in response to the move by the committee.
The HASC logic basically says the Air Force needs the A-10 right now, as Read more
As reported in the New York Times, US Air Force Capt. Ryan Thulin, an F-16 pilot stationed in Aviano Air Base, Italy, describes his recent (and first) combat mission, over Libya.
Of note, he flew an 8-hour mission out of Italy, refueling at least twice on the way in and the way out. He dropped at least two 500-lb precision weapons on targets in Libya.
The Associated Press picture of Thulin accompanying the article shows him sporting a mustache. He’s not participating in the fighter pilot tradition of growing a mustache while deployed, as he’s flying from his home base. It’s just coincident timing: the war in Libya occurred during Mustache March.
As an aside, the New York Times reports A-10s and AC-130s have entered the theatre, which may represent a shift in strategy from the generally high-altitude precision bombardment that has happened to date.