US to stage F-35-versus-Warthog bake-off in 2018

Hipsters to take on steampunks

A-10 Warthog - US Air Force image
Can the F-35 beat off the ancient Warthog? US Air Force image

US brass-hats have decided when the F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter” will finally be ready to take on the ancient A10 “Warthog”: in another three years, give or take a little.

In 2018, the Pentagon's Office of Operational Test and Evaluation plans to send formations of F-35s and A10s to compare their effectiveness in close air support, DefenseNews reports.

DOT&E chief Michael Gilmore, speaking at the Pentagon late last week, said the comparison test would “reveal how well the F-35 performs and whether there are gaps, or improvements in capability, compared to the A-10”.

The test has to wait until 2018 so that the F-35 can carry its final “Block 3F” software, to bring the fighters up to full combat capacity.

The A-10 was produced between the 1970s and 1984, but an ongoing upgrade program could keep it flying for another 13 years.

“I expect there will be comparison testing against other aircraft; I'm just not prepared at this point to tell you exactly which ones”, Gilmore reportedly said.

There was also a begrudging concession that the F-35 might not win in every scenario, with Gilmore saying that the A-10 might have the edge under some circumstances.

In spite of its age, the A-10 is still in demand. As War Is Boring notes, it's currently running missions in Syria against ISIS. ®

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