The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.
Last week the US Air Force announced, as part of a proposed series of budget cuts, that it was planning on cutting five squadrons of what has been perhaps the most useful manned aircraft in the Air Force's inventory over the past three decades: the A-10 Thunderbolt II. In turn, only one F-15 and one F-16 squadron would be cut even though our military hasn't faced seriously contested airspace at virtually any point this century.
What's more, neither the F-15 or F-16 have proven themselves as effective, including in terms of cost, as the A-10 in the role of providing close air support (CAS)