Defense Department officials detailed F-35s combat shortcomings recently. The first version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which Marines are to begin using this summer can not beat the capabilities of the A-10 Thunderbolt which they are supposed to replace. Pilots will not have night vision capabilities and will have a limited payload of no more than four bombs or missiles.
An Arizona lawmaker and former Warthog pilot stated, “This [F-35 variant] reminds me of something before the A-10, not something after the A-10.” And that lawmaker was correct. Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation said that it, “…will not be able to best the capabilities of the 1970’s era A-10 Thunderbolts it was designed to replace.
[tweetthis]F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Can’t Best 1970’s A-10s in Battle #USMilitary [/tweetthis]
Lingering Issues for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
The Pentagon’s $400 billion F-35 fighter can’t pass the most basic requirements to fly in combat. This fighter jet is the most expensive weapons program in the Pentagon’s history. Now, it seems as if the embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is great at running up a huge U.S. taxpayer bill, but can’t do the one important thing it needs to do – fly combat missions.
In written testimony to the House Armed Service Committee, Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation wrote, “If F-35 aircraft are employed at night for combat, pilots will have no night vision capability available due to the restriction on using the current night vision camera.”
A-10 Thunderbolt versus F-35 Fighter
When talking about the A-10 Thunderbolt’s combat capabilities, Gilmore testified that Warthog is capable of remaining over the battlefield for 90 minutes, it can carry at least four air-to-surface weapons and use its powerful nose cannon for close air support of ground forces.
The first version of the F-35 to be flown by Marine pilots will have no night vision capabilities, can only stay over the battlefield for up to 30 minutes and will only carry two short-range air-to-surface bombs of the same type and two medium-range air-to-air missiles.