The Air Force this year will begin operational fielding of the precision engagement modification for its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft. The Air Force’s two top leaders said at a Wednesday House Armed Services Committee meeting that the modification, which incorporates an advanced targeting pod and data links, will “greatly enhance” a pilot’s situational awareness and targeting ability. The service also is continuing a service life upgrade to double the flight-hour life of the A-10 and plans to pursue system design and demonstration for an A-10 propulsion upgrade. They said the engine mod would provide a 30 percent boost in thrust to offset problems the A-10s have faced in operating at some expeditionary fields at high elevations and high temperatures.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.