Looking Beyond F-35

The Air Force will have a “serious breach of capability” if the powers that be decide to cancel the F-35 strike fighter program in an effort to fix the nation’s budget crisis, said Gen. Mike Hostage, head of Air Combat Command in an interview on Feb 21. It’s an option Hostage clearly doesn’t want, but that doesn’t mean Air Force officials haven’t started thinking about how they would defend the country if the F-35 does fall victim to the budget ax. “I would have to refurbish the [F-15] and [F-16 fleets] and the legacy hardware I have today. I also have a very small fleet of tremendously capable airplanes in the F-22s. I would push to buy more of those,” he told the Daily Report in Orlando, Fla., at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium. Specifically, Hostage said, the Air Force would need another 225 F-22s to ensure that it could execute a successful war plan and still remain ready to deal with a second contingency, if necessary. Click here to continue to the full report.