Keep the Culture

Air Combat Command “has been focused … for a while” on how it maintains the close air support culture as it transitions from the A-10 to the F-35, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Feb. 13 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. Welsh said he’s looking at putting a majority of former A-10 pilots “in some squadrons … so we create places where the CAS culture has a home; the keepers of the flame of this mindset, the attack mentality, which is important to us and has always been important to us.” He insisted the F-35 “will be a good CAS platform,” although it will take a while “to get it to where we want it to be; like it has with every other airplane we’ve ever bought, including the A-10.” The A-10, he said, “is going to go away, eventually,” and can’t serve past 2027-2028. “Beyond that, you’re talking a huge investment to recapitalize that fleet. That makes no sense in today’s environment,” Welsh argued.