Schoolhouse Toughs

The Air Force’s goal is to ensure that “the vast majority” of F-35s and F-22s—even those dedicated to basic flight training—are at the full operational standard, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday. The F-22 fleet is tiered such that schoolhouse jets at Tyndall AFB, Fla.—about 60 airplanes–aren’t up to the full combat configuration of airframe and software. Carlisle said USAF “is examining what it would take” to bring them up to par for easier training and in case a contingency demands them, but it “hasn’t figured out the money yet to do that.” There are “many benefits” to having a fleet-wide common configuration of the F-22, he asserted, and Lockheed Martin “is helping us, looking at what that cost would be.” The F-35s, however, Carlisle said he expects will nearly all be modified in turn, “so that the (training)-coded airplanes match the combat-coded” aircraft. (See also: Keeping F-22s Modern)